The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee, Drayton Arms Theatre

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by guest critic Amy Toledano

It is rare that a large-scale musical can be performed to its full potential in a tiny, unventilated room above a pub, but MKEC’s latest production of The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee does exactly that – and then some.

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Blueberry Toast, Soho Theatre

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by an anonymous guest critic

We open on a stereotypical, modern American kitchen where wife Barb (Gala Gordon) is busying herself. When her husband Walt (Gareth David-Lloyd) comes down for breakfast, she attempts to make him something extra special: blueberry toast. Walt refuses the dish, insisting that he never asked for it and that what he really wanted was blueberry pancakes.

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As You Like It & Hamlet, Shakespeare’s Globe

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It would be so much fun to be part of Michelle Terry’s ensemble cast that performs both Hamlet and As You Like It to open this year’s season and her tenure as artistic director. They’re having a great time in what are something of a return to the Rylance era of the actor-manager, but uneven pacing and a smattering of interesting but disconnected choices lead to a lack of cohesion that indicates a lack directorial voice.

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H.R.Haitch, Union Theatre

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by guest critic Amy Toledano

In a time when our world seems to be headed for destruction thanks to the likes of Brexit and Trump, it is comforting to reflect on a more progressive time. Iris Theatre’s latest production H.R.Haitch does exactly this by focusing in on an typical London family at the end of 2011. Throw in some fantastic music, highly energised performances and a royal wedding, and this show entertains from start to finish.

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Suicide Notes… The spoken word of Christopher Brett Bailey, Shoreditch Town Hall

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by guest critic Joanna Trainor

“I wanted to be gentle when I blew his mind.”

Christopher Brett Bailey could read the Argos catalogue and have an audience hang on his every word. But his talent for storytelling is matched by his weird and wonderful writing, and so we get to take another trip down the rabbit hole of his inspired or insane work.

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One Green Bottle, Soho Theatre

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by guest critic Meredith Jones Russell

Princess the dog is pregnant, and someone needs to stay in to look after her, but father Bo, mother Boo and daughter Pickle all want to go out.

So far, so straightforward, you might think. But the chaos that follows in One Green Bottle, including but by no means limited to a chair through a TV set, a key down a toilet, Mickey Mouse, a disembowelled sheep and an awful lot of chains, might suggest otherwise.

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How to Be a Londoner in an Hour, Centre17

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by guest critic Meredith Jones Russell

How to Be a Londoner in an Hour is part of a “politically charged” season at new venue Centre17 in Walthamstow. “Politically charged” wouldn’t be the most obvious way to describe How to Be…, unless you count repeated references to Boris Johnson, who hasn’t actually been London mayor for two years.

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