YAYAYA AYAYAY, Southbank Centre

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By Laura Kressly

The infant Earth was a place of chaos and noise. High winds, rivers of lava and churning layers of rock glowed and cracked. It’s from this hot, toxic sea that arose the perfect conditions for life as the surface of the planet divided into sea and land, and gravity’s pull invited the formation of an atmosphere.

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Ok Bye, VAULT Festival

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by guest critic Alex Dowding

So what really happens when the fat lady sings? If it’s anything like Red Belly Black’s accomplished take on on the exquisitely human experience of grief and letting go, expect laughter, tears and harsh truths served with a glittering side of live music.

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Mexico: A Love Story, VAULT Festival

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by Laura Kressly

Critics don’t enjoy writing pans. We don’t review because we want theatre to be bad. Quite the opposite – every time we take a seat, whether it be plush and commercial or a bench on the fringe, we hope the show we’re about to watch is the best thing we’ve ever seen. But we’re duty-bound to be honest.

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Boys, VAULT Festival

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by guest critic Ava Davies

Boys, the inaugural piece by physical theatre group The PappyShow, is about exactly that. It’s an exploration of manhood, of masculinity, of what it means to be a man of colour in the UK today. It’s about mess and silliness and play and pain. It’s about the complexity of selfhood – because how can one man possibly contain all these multitudes?

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Maiden Speech, TheatreN16

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In world of Harvey Weinsteins, Bill Cosbys, MRAs and other own-brand misogynists in and out of the arts, A mini-festival of feminist theatre should be a soothing balm to the wounds wrought by male privilege. It is, in part. Though it’s great that feminist work is getting much-needed exposure, Maiden Speech varies in quality and lacks true intersectionality.

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One Last Thing (For Now), Old Red Lion

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Families separated by war and conflict have kept in touch one way or another for time immemorial. Recently giving way to skype, texts and emails, letter writing is now largely neglected – but surviving relics betray heartache, fear and longing. International theatre company Althea Theatre draw on choral physical theatre and the intimate communications between family members from a range of global conflicts to create a moving tribute to love and patriotism.

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We Are Ian, VAULT Festival

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by guest critic Martin Pettitt

We enter into a long damp and dingy chamber, in the distance there is a flashing screen with 3 sets of legs beneath, feet bedecked in shoes with multi-coloured lights, gyrating and popping to the pronounced beat of the music. The screen blinks with various versions of the words: We Are Ian. In terms of stage set, that was it apart from a bulb hanging from the ceiling and a vast amount of digestive biscuits.

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