Nine Night, National Theatre

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by Laura Kressly

A riotous party is heard offstage and the cheerfully vintage, open-plan kitchen we see is full of food and drink. But this London home isn’t hosting any old house party. It’s a customary Jamaican wake following Gloria’s death, and three generations of her family have gathered to mourn. As they wrestle with grief, tradition clashes with modern Britain in Natasha Gordon’s kitchen sink drama that bounces from hilarity to gravity and back again.

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All Boxed Up, VAULT Festival

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by guest critic Alex Dowding

You wake up every day, stumble bleary-eyed into the kitchen, pour yourself a bowl of cereal, gaze at that oh-so-cheery character on the box and wonder what the hell they could be so happy about. Sound familiar? Well, All Boxed Up is what happens when writer Sammy Kissin stares at the lifeless eyes on the box until they start staring back.

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Harold and Maude, Charing Cross Theatre

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by guest critic Maeve Campbell

Hal Asby’s 1971 film Harold and Maude is a masterpiece. Harold is nineteen and
obsessed with death. He meets Maude, a week off eighty, who lives her life to its fullest
and is constantly seeking new experiences. Opposites attract, and what plays out is one
of the most charming, unusual and sincere romances in celluloid history. Thom
Southerland’s Charing Cross Theatre revival is lovely but misses out on the sincerity
that helped garner the film’s cult classic status.

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Napoleon Disrobed, Arcola Theatre

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by Laura Kressly

What would happen if Napoleon didn’t die on Saint Helena? What if he managed to not be imprisoned at all? This amusing Monty Python-esque, revisionist history suggests that with his doppelganger in exile, Napoleon tries to regain power in Belgium but is thwarted by supporter disbelief, poverty and the love of a melon seller. The comedy is punchy but the story is sparse, making for a joyful but baffling show.

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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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