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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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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SOAP, Underbelly

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by guest critic Rebecca JS NIce

Two proud directors, Ed Bartlam and Charlie Wood, celebrate ten years of Underbelly at the Southbank on 10 May with an open bar and free mini-burgers that a supremely jolly audience maul the waiting staff to get their hands on. Bartlam makes a speech while Wood suavely leans by his side as he reminds us all how they bought the iconic purple cow from Edinburgh to London, including its strong and diverse circus programme which this year boasts returning favourite Elixir alongside Circolumbia and Circus Abyssinia: Ethiopian Dreams to name a few. Rather wet cast members provide the celebratory performance in a show where sex and some circus tricks provide shits and giggles in the intimate Spiegeltent housing five bathtubs.

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Devil With the Blue Dress, Bunker Theatre

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by guest critic Amy Toledano

The political climate of 1990’s America may be something the world has largely forgotten, but playwright Kevin Armento certainly has no issue in reminding us of one of the country’s most memorable sex scandals. In his audacious new play Devil With The Blue Dress, Armento examines five women’s accounts leading up to – and resulting in – President Clinton’s impeachment in 1998. From the moment you set foot in the Bunker, you cannot help but be transported into what feels like the smoky underworld of dirty politics. This sensation can only be helped by saxophonist, and lone instrumentalist of the show, Tashomi Balfour, who underscores the entire piece with his smooth and often haunting melodies.

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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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