Flies, Edinburgh Festival Fringe

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by Laura Kressly

Theatre doesn’t need another all-white, all-male absurdist production ridiculing vulnerable people. Whilst fun in its staging and innovative in its storytelling, Flies lazily exploits cishet, male power dynamics in a Kafka-esque nightmare for fly-phobic Dennis whilst exploiting systemic, patriarchal structures to make him even more of a victim.

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Othello, Shakespeare’s Globe

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By Laura Kressly

Who knew one of Shakespeare’s greatest tragedies could be funny? Director and composer Claire van Kampen has tapped into a rare rhythm that sees Iago as a weaselly, clownish man lacking power and finesse, yet still manages to twist Othello into knots. Played by Mark Rylance, one of the finest actors of his generation, his performance is the strongest feature of this production.

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Home I’m Darling, National Theatre

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by Laura Kressly

Judy loves the 1950s. Nay, she’s obsessed with the era. Frustrated and tired by the demands of modern life, she and her husband Johnny have kitted out their home with authentic fixtures and fittings, and have dedicated themselves to maintaining a ’50s lifestyle. Are they happy living like they did in the good ole’ days, though?

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Exit the King, National Theatre

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By Laura Kressly

There’s little that’s exciting about watching a petulant, man-child of a king taking 90-odd minutes to die whilst his two wives, a housekeeper, a guard and a ‘doctor’ debate his legacy and the reported collapse of his kingdom. But the design, that climactically progresses along with the king’s death, in this new version by Patrick Marber is a fine reward for enduring the tedium of snarky melodrama that makes up most of the performance.

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The Unbuilt City, King’s Head Theatre

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by Laura Kressly

Claudia is a reclusive collector whiling away the time in her Brooklyn Heights townhouse overlooking the East River and lower Manhattan. Jonah is a young writer day jobbing for his old university’s academic archives. He’s been sent to see if Claudia has a priceless item, long thought lost, hidden away in her home. As her life approaches it’s midnight hour, she is desperate to cling to the last thing that gives her some power and Jonah is desperate to win this commission which would financially secure his immediate future.

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Long Day’s Journey into Night, Brooklyn Academy of Music

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by guest critic Steven Strauss

On its surface, the title Long Day’s Journey into Night describes the looooong four acts it takes Eugene O’Neill’s play to chronicle the story of one day-into-night in the life of the Tyrone family. Metaphorically, it suggests how the play utilizes this micro-slice of life to depict how this autobiographical family descends from the daylight of sanity to the darkness of madness in a macro sense, and how their projected reality in the sunlight of day masks the true darkness of night lingering underneath. 

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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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