War with the Newts, Bunker Theatre

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by Laura Kressly

In post-Brexit Britain, the oyster industry struggles. Work is hard and profits are low. But when oyster harvester Captain von Toch sees mysterious images on the ship’s sonar and discovers a new creature that can quickly be taught fine motor skills, he revitalises his business and changes the course of the human race’s destiny.

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Paper Cinema’s Macbeth, Battersea Arts Centre

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By Laura Kressly

I’m a sucker for inventive adaptations of Shakespeare plays, so Paper Cinema’s Macbeth, a live-action, silent movie version, is hugely appealing. For 90 minutes a team of five use handheld cameras, desk lamps and hand-drawn illustrations to broadcast the story in visual form onto a large screen. Accompanied by a Celtic-inspired, cinematic score, this graphic novel/stop motion/object manipulation telling is enchanting – until I ask my companion, a Dutch woman who doesn’t know Macbeth, what she thought. 

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The Wider Earth, Natural History Museum

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by Laura Kressly

Newly-minted Cambridge graduate Charles Darwin wants to collect insects and rocks, but his father wants him to enter the clergy. When one of his lecturers recommends him for the positions of resident naturalist onboard Naval ship The Beagle, the 22-year-old jumps at the chance. Over the next five years he sails the world, collects specimens and constructs ideas that eventually become On the Origin of Species. He is also a part of an imperialist mission ridden with Christian colonial attitudes that, in this script, are disappointingly excused in favour of spectacular design.

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I’m a Phoenix Bitch, Battersea Arts Centre

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by Laura Kressly

Theatremaker and performance artist Bryony Kimmings hit rock bottom a few years ago. Her relationship was breaking down, her infant son was ill and her mental health was in tatters. To recover from the trauma, her therapist recommended a technique where she replays the traumatic events in her mind like a film. What better way to regularly go through this exercise than perform it every night?

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Hogarth’s Progress, Rose Theatre

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by Simona Negretto

Nick Dear’s first visit to William Hogarth’s world took place in 1986 when The Art of Success premiered in Stratford-upon-Avon. Now, over thirty years later, he has decided to take a peek into his character’s life once more and to show us the final part of the artist’s existence in The Taste of The Town.

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A Kettle of Fish, Yard Theatre

by Helen Murray

By Laura Kressly

Lisa is on a work trip with two colleagues. Things at home are a bit stressful and she normally isn’t included at this level of project management, but she’s fine. Not long into the flight, an attendant asks to have a word with her at the front of the plane. The devastating news she receives sets off a chain reaction of grief, anger and meltdowns. As Lisa tries to hold it together in front of the other passengers, reality slips from her grasp. 

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Drip Feed, Soho Theatre

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by Maeve Campbell

Karen Cogan begins her one-woman show floppy and lifeless looking, slumped over a grubby sofa bed. This is an uncomfortable image to pre-show chat in front of and it sets the mood for the proceeding work. Drip Feed is Brenda’s story, a ‘youngish’ queer woman living in Cork, inhabited by insular, parochial and judgemental residents. Brenda, though, is ‘part of the furniture’ of the city, but seems both in love with and restricted by it.

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