Dirty Crusty, The Yard

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by Laura Kressly

CW: sexual abuse, rape, suicide

Jeanine is in her early 30s and seems to have herself together, but her friends know better. Though she can hold down a job, a relationship and hobbies, she can’t manage to get a handle on cleanliness and hygiene. Not that this really comes across in this production, though. Jay Miller’s low-key, casual realism and a clean design contradict the filth that Jeanine is supposed to embody.

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On Bear Ridge, Royal Court

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By Laura Kressly

John Daniel and Noni are the last people on Bear Ridge Mountain. The butchers/petrol station/corner shop that has been in the family for decades is long closed. The village below them is abandoned and planes fly threateningly over head. As they bide their time in this empty, Beckettian hellscape crowded with the ghosts of fraying memories, a stranger appears out of the snow and threatens what little stability they have left.

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Glass. Kill. Bluebeard. Imp., Royal Court

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by Laura Kressly

A new Caryl Churchill play is a special occasion, but four at once is a treat. Radically different in tone and theme, this collection ranges from pleasantly surreal to shocking and strange. Though they stand alone as short plays, as a whole they take on an array of society’s ills – but the pronounced concepts that Churchill is known for occasionally stale here, despite regular moments of brilliance.

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A Wake in Progress, Edinburgh Festival Fringe

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by Meredith Jones Russell

Trigger warnings have been the subject of some debate in theatre circles, but if ever there was a perfect example of the right time to use one, it is in A Wake in Progress. Not only because it is easily and deftly woven into the piece by master of ceremonies Amy Fleming without spoilers or awkward interjections, but also because the point of this show is absolutely not to make anyone feel uncomfortable or unhappy about death. Quite the opposite.

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River in the Sky, Hope Theatre

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By Laura Kressly

Waves quietly break along the beach outside a remote holiday home. A woman drinks Earl Gray, eats biscuits and mourns her infant son. Her husband checks on her regularly, but within the icy sea of debilitating grief, they’ve lost the ability to communicate other than through fantastical stories of mythical creatures. Time all but stops in this sparsely-written series of snapshots depicting a couple trying their best to piece their lives together after a tragedy.

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Shackleton’s Carpenter, Jermyn Street Theatre

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by Laura Kressly

In 1914 Sir Earnest Shackleton set off to cross Antarctica via the South Pole, but the mission was cut short when one of the two ships froze in an ice floe that eventually crushed it. Miraculously, the men were able to seek help due to the ship’s carpenter repurposing the life boats to make them suitable for long journeys in turbulent water. That carpenter’s name was Harry McNish, and in his dying days on a New Zealand dock, he relives his memories of that voyage.

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To See Salisbury, RADA Festival

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by Meredith Jones Russell

Boshirov and Petrov are Russian men who find themselves on the run after they are implicated in the biggest spy drama of the decade. Accused of poisoning a compatriot on British soil with Novichok, they have hotfooted it back to Russia in an attempt to give the authorities the slip. But with their names and faces all over the media and a seemingly conclusive collection of evidence against them, their case looks desperate.

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