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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The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee, Drayton Arms Theatre

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by guest critic Amy Toledano

It is rare that a large-scale musical can be performed to its full potential in a tiny, unventilated room above a pub, but MKEC’s latest production of The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee does exactly that – and then some.

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Left My Desk, New Diorama Theatre

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by Laura Kressly

Becca gets to work at the local council and is immediately bundled into a police car. She’s not in trouble, but one of the people on her caseload is. She and her colleague Craig go to hospital to see a little girl that ‘fell out of bed’. Or to a shelter to meet with a young woman who is pregnant and addicted to huffing hairspray. Or to a school to check on a teenager being groomed by drug dealers. Every day she fights for their safety within a system on the brink of collapse. But how long can she go on like this?

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The Daughter-in-Law, Arcola Theatre

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by Laura Kressly

Men are immature and women are cruel.

With this damning premise, D H Lawrence condemns straight couples to lives of vengeful misery. Minnie and Luther are newlyweds, but the cold viciousness of married life has already sunk its claws in. Both feel trapped. Luther’s lack of ambition to progress in his job down the coal pits winds up Millie, who just wants him to love her as much as he loves his mother.

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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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A Gym Thing, Pleasance Theatre

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by Laura Kressly

Will is having a rough time so isn’t inclined to leave his Playstation. His worried mate Jay convinces him to join the gym with him, in the hope that it pulls him out of his funk. Unknowingly, Jay creates a monster. The gym gives Will not just new-found purpose, but triggers an addiction that totally transforms him from quiet and shy into a vain, self-absorbed and destructive force.

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Othello, Unicorn Theatre

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by guest critic Hailey Bachrach

Ignace Cornelissen’s Henry the Fifth, which was at the Unicorn Theatre in 2015, remains one of my favourite versions of that play ever. Setting King Henry’s French wars in a sandbox, Cornelissen simplified without dumbing-down the central themes of Shakespeare’s play.

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