by guest critic Joanna Trainor
Do you have to be responsible for your breasts?
A question you probably never thought you’d have to think about, but The B*easts pushes us to consider the very worst of society as Monica Dolan explores the sexualisation of female children.
by guest critic Amy Toledano
A stage dressed with cardboard cut outs of Donald Trump, three members of One Direction and a children’s play house are just some of the elements that make up this monologue of a recovering children’s entertainer. Joseph Cullen, or put more plainly Joe, who enters the space in a complete Princess Leia outfit, introduces himself to us as exactly this, and then continues to surprise us from that moment on.
by guest critic Kudzanayi Chiwawa
Kim Noble, Pol Heyvaert, Jakob Ampe and the nine, young singer/songwriters they worked with describe this piece as part gig and part play, and it’s exactly that. The show unfolds as if in a radio station’s live broadcast, with a clearly confident cast carrying you through the unusual format, allowing the audience to simply enjoy it.
Rape culture is real. Victims are blamed, perpetrators are excused and conviction rates are low. Of reported rapes – estimated to be less than 20% – only 3% are deemed to be false accusations.
by guest critic Liam Rees
Alex Gwyther’s Eyes Closed, Ears Covered is a slippery play that continuously raises questions. We’re immediately presented with Alyson Cummins’ concrete-grey, angular set, suggestive of a brutalist play park in a rundown housing estate. A recording of a distressed phone call to the police about a pair of young boys and a terrible act of violence adds tension. Gwyther’s script immediately has us hooked with the right amount of specific details to suggest what may have occurred whilst not to revealing too much.
A middle-aged, gay Welshman contemplates the English class he teaches in Hong Kong. Amongst the students is Windy, the Chinese woman with whom he shares his bed. Utterly smitten with her, he refers to her as his Pocahontas. He then kisses a barbie doll with long black hair and tanned skin.
Pocahontas was a Native American woman kidnapped by the colonising English in the 1600s, forced to marry, then taken to Britain. The same woman bore her husband a child then died, aged 21, after contracting a European illness.
What happens when two experimental performance artists join forces with a few kids to make a kids’ show? Utterly delightful, if messy, madness. 1990s Nickelodeon is a clear influence, as are fart jokes, poo, time bending and parallel universes. An attempt at education intrudes near the end, but otherwise the script is a joyful, jokey celebration of all things silly and gross. There are moments, particularly in the beginning, that are a touch too self-serving for a show pitched to children, but there’s plenty of slapsticky fun for adults and young people alike.