V + 15, VAULT Festival

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by Lizzie Jackson

The particularly dark and damp Cavern is a perfect location for V+15 what with its references to the trains passing overhead, as well as the mysterious, dystopian theme that runs throughout the play. Jo Sutherland’s writing is philosophical, political and fast-paced with twists and turns at every corner, and the direction from Sara Reimers is naturalistic and engaging, but a bit lacking in its ability to bring out the characters’ emotions. Whether this is down to the actors, the direction, or the script, it is hard to tell. It could be a combination of all three.

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Dual, VAULT Festival

by Laura Kressly

Peyvand Sadeghian was born in Canning Town, and East London runs through her veins. Yet, there’s also the scent of something else, from somewhere far away – rose water and pomegranate, from an ancient civilisation the western world loves to demonise. She doesn’t give this much thought until she is 10 years old and first travels to Iran with her father. This is a turning point in her life; it’s when she finds she is not just one person, but two. As well as Peyvand the Londoner, she’s also Parisa the Persian girl. These two identities are set in opposition in this deliberately messy collage about having multiple citizenships and identities, and embedded with a spirit of revolution.

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Feature |A Director at Work

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by Laura Kressly

Two women are sitting on the floor in the corner of a north London pub’s function room. One gently rocks a chair back and forth with her hands, while the other one watches. The former is quietly focused, the latter grins and nods encouragingly.

If this moment was photographed, it would be difficult to identify the reality of what’s happening. I’d probably guess it was two friends chatting about something quite serious. Most – if not all – womxn would recognise the relaxed yet vulnerable postures that are often adopted when close friends are sharing something sensitive or important, usually curled up on a sofa with a glass of wine or cup of tea in hand. The image evokes a warming feeling of comfort that comes from knowing you are completely heard and valued, and freeing to know you can say anything in these moments of safety and support.

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Citysong, Soho Theatre

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by Maeve Ryan

Citysong contemplates the timeless cycle of life by following three generations of a family on one important day. Writer Dylan Coburn Gray calls this lyrical piece a ‘play for voices’ and indeed the script began its life as spoken word. It won the Verity Bargate Award, which brought it from Ireland’s national theatre, the Abbey, to London. Both inner city theatres are perfect settings for this evocation of life and family narrated by a cab driver in a rain-soaked, streetlamp-lit Dublin.

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J’ouvert, Theatre503

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By Laura Kressly

Over the August bank holiday weekend, people of West Indian heritage have been celebrating their history and culture in the face of racial oppression since the 1960s. Bright colours, elaborate costumes, loud music, dancing, and lashings of rum mark the Carnival that’s now one of the largest in the world. In her female-led, debut play taking place over a day at Notting Hill Carnival, Yasmin Joseph pays homage to the people, young and old, that make up the event’s vibrant landscape and give it its soul.

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Pinter Four, Harold Pinter Theatre

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by Maeve Campbell

Pinter Four continues Jamie Lloyd’s Pinter at the Pinter season with the Lyndsey Turner directed Moonlight starring Robert Glenister as ta dying patriarch who bemoans his family’s absence at his death bed to his long suffering wife (Brid Brennan). The second half play Night School, directed by Ed Stambollouian, is a totally different beast from a different Pinter era. Al Weaver plays a disgruntled ex-fraudster who discovers, on his release from prison, that his aunts have let out his bed-room to a mysterious and glamourous young school teacher (Jessica Barden).

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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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