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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The Future is Mental, VAULT Festival

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by Dora Bodrogi

The Network Theatre Company has put together a brilliant night of short plays that are certainly entertaining, if slightly alarming about where the world is heading. The Future is Mental gives us an assemblage of six near-future, ‘soft-dystopian’ stories, admittedly inspired by Black Mirror, that makes us take a step back and really rethink our present lifestyles.

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Be Longing, VAULT Festival

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by Dora Bodrogi

What if two women could make a baby without any sperm donors?

This is the central question of this play by Lauren Gibson. It sounds like the premise of a Black Mirror episode – and it would make a great one if based on this play – in which we explore the moral and emotional dilemmas of an equally promising and dystopian scientific advancement could cause.

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On Bear Ridge, Royal Court

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By Laura Kressly

John Daniel and Noni are the last people on Bear Ridge Mountain. The butchers/petrol station/corner shop that has been in the family for decades is long closed. The village below them is abandoned and planes fly threateningly over head. As they bide their time in this empty, Beckettian hellscape crowded with the ghosts of fraying memories, a stranger appears out of the snow and threatens what little stability they have left.

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Mission Creep, White Bear Theatre

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by Laura Kressly

Nuclear war has broken out and most of North America has been destroyed. The bombs are getting closer to London, and there are fewer escape options now that the borders are closed. There’s a sex commune in Wales, or the opportunity to join an alien species on another planet seeking a cis het couple to perpetuate the human race. Liam and Tess have applied for the latter.

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WOW EVERYTHING IS AMAZING, Battersea Arts Centre

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by Laura Kressly

As the world feels more and more like a dystopian nightmare that could explode at any moment from greed and relentless late capitalism, it’s unsurprising that young people are worried about their future. Sounds Like Chaos are a soothing balm for them, though. The associate company at the Albany supports referred and self-referred 12-21 year olds with training, employment opportunities and opportunities to make theatre, treating them with respect and valuing their ideas. Their latest ensemble work is set in the near future, using music, projections and ritual to critique online culture.

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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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Sex With Robots and Other Devices, King’s Head Theatre

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by Laura Kressly

Whether you like or not, time and technological developments are marching on, impacting every aspect of our lives – including sex and relationships. Nessah Muthy’s new play proposes that soon the technology behind life-like robot Sophia will combine with hyper-realistic sex dolls already incorporating AI. In the world of the play, most people choose to buy themselves a made-to-order companion that satisfies all of their needs.

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The Children, Manhattan Theatre Club

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by NY guest critic Steven Strauss

American dramaphiles tend to view Britain as a hotbed of hyper-verbal and hyper-intellectual plays, especially in comparison to our home-bred musicals that often lack the same resonant depth. This is of course a gross over-generalization with countless exceptions, but personally, I became a card-carrying theatrical anglophile thanks to the massive transatlantic influx of Stoppardian texts in which characters talk talk talk about Serious and Important Ideas.

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