Girls & Boys, Royal Court

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by Laura Kressly

A woman stands on a pastel blue stage and starts at the beginning. She tells us a love story – how she met a man in an airport, fell in love and built a life with him. Great jobs, a family, a house, the full works. It’s perfect. Until it’s not.

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Gundog, Royal Court

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by Laura Kressly

A newborn lamb lies on the ground. It’s dead. It’s mother will soon follow, but there are others that are still alive or yet to be born, and they need help. Bec and Anna fight for the survival of these tiny creatures as if their lives depend on it.

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Goats, Royal Court

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by guest critic Gregory Forrest

You have goat to be kidding me: the Royal Court’s latest experiment is a tonally-confused take on the Syrian conflict, fake news, and livestock management.

The bleating heart of Liwaa Yazji’s narrative is fascinating. For every son martyred in the ongoing war, local government will provide their grieving family with a goat. Children replaced by milk-laden mammals – it is a compensation scheme of twisted proportions. Local party leader Abu al-Tayyib goes as far as to declare ‘Our vision is for every house in the nation to have its own goat.’

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Skin Tight, Hope Theatre

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A couple wrestle each other with all the affection and aggression that only a couple who have been together for a long time can. It’s tender, brutal, unrestrained and familiar. They each know exactly what the other will do next, and how to wind them up. But it will soon end, as one of them has to leave soon.

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Jane Eyre, National Theatre

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One of the unfortunate side effects from my time as a secondary school Drama teacher is that Brechtian staging has been ruined for me forever. Brecht is particularly beloved by Drama teachers what with his trademark styles that work particularly well with low production budgets and the diverse abilities of most Drama classes. He is also part of GCSE and A-level syllabuses, and as such, I’ve imparted his techniques to young people entirely too frequently over my short time at the chalkface. His work will long be associated with devised exam productions and low-budget school plays, so anything similar on a professional stage is burdened by those memories.

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The Listening Room, Stratford East

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Can violent criminals be rehabilitated, and can their victims ever forgive them? The Listening Room says yes.

This verbatim piece tells the stories of three violent crimes, primarily from the perspective of the perpetrators. Some character background sets the scene for climactic moments where they commit their offences, but at least half of each of the five characters’ stories spotlights the rehabilitation process and mediation between the assailants and their victims.

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Part of the Picture, Edinburgh Festival Fringe

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Peppered across the North Sea, giant metal birds stretch towards the sky and drill into the seabed below, hunting for life-giving oils and gasses. Along their wide bellies, men work day and night to keep them moving in dangerous, dirty conditions. The money’s good, and the work is plentiful.

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