The Ballerina, VAULT Festival

by Laura Kressly

Colin Clutterbuck, a British diplomat stationed in an unnamed African nation, is arrested and accused of supporting the president’s opposition with the aim of starting civil war. Clutterbuck claims her community outreach work fosters democracy and civic responsibility amongst the country’s citizens, newly freed from a dictatorship. Her captor, Pacifique Muamba, uses western imperialist techniques of torture to get her to admit what he thinks is the truth.

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A Pissedmas Carol, Leicester Square Theatre

by Zahid Fayyaz

Shit-faced Showtime has returned to their London home, the Leicester Square Theatre, for their annual yuletide version of Charles Dicken’s A Christmas Carol. The USP of this particular Christmas Carol, to distinguish it from the other versions across the country, is that one member of the cast is completely hammered and the rest of the case have to work around and incorporate their drunken ramblings into the show. The cast also incorporate a number of contemporary songs into the narrative, which occasionally do not work, though not at the fault of their singing talent.

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Little Red Robin Hood, Battersea Arts Centre

Ali Wright

by Romy Foster

This December, audiences of Battersea Arts Centre are transported to the vibrant forest of Cherwood where big bad wolves, beloved outlaws and worldwide superstars run amock. This inventive mash-up of the famous childhood classics Little Red Riding Hood and Robin Hood make an unlikely but hilarious twist as we follow the townspeople being terrorised by the sheriff of Nottingham in his wicked attempt to build a car park over the village.

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Perfect Show for Rachel, Barbican Theatre

by Laura Kressly

Inclusion and engagement are a core part of Zoo Co, a theatre company of disabled and non-disabled artists that intrinsically embeds access in their work. This does does the same thing, though Artistic Director Flo O’Mahony takes a different approach to accessibility in this production. Inspired by her learning disabled sister Rachel’s joy in telling people what to do, this show is just for Rachel.

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Pinocchio, Unicorn Theatre

by Laura Kressly

As autumn turns into winter and Christmas approaches, the lonely toymaker Geppetto pleads with the blue moon gleaming over his village in the Italian alps, to make him a father. Luckily, the Blue Fairy hears him and brings to life the boy-sized puppet born from Geppetto’s despair. Her gift comes with a condition, however; The wooden child Pinocchio must learn how to be good by Christmas. If he doesn’t – and Geppetto fails at parenting – then he turns back into a toy. Like the iconic Disney film, many hair-raising adventures ensue, portrayed by the fantastic cast of five.

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The Shadow Whose Prey the Hunter Becomes, Battersea Arts Centre

By Romy Foster

Framed by the lens of the intrusive and boundary-breaking rise of artificial intelligence, The Shadow Whose Prey Becomes the Hunter by Back to Back Theatre serves as a wake-up call on how non-disabled people alienate people who have what are referred to in Australia as ‘intellectual disabilities’. (Australia and the UK have very different language for disability. In Australia ‘people with intellectual disabilities’ is considered polite. This is the language used the show.)

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Much Ado About Nothing, Jack Studio Theatre

by Laura Kressly

Outdoor summer touring Shakespeare shows are about as British as they come. This one by Bear in the Air, apart from this short stop at the Jack, is no exception. There’s no dominant production concept, but the cast of six zip through the trimmed down script with confidence and energy. The performances are consistently excellent though some of the directorial choices mean there are issues.

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There’s No Mystery in Murder, Edinburgh Festival Fringe

by Romy Foster

Northern Corner brings humour and mischief to this brand-new musical based in the fictional town of Rothersdale. It’s a quiet town where nothing ever happens, so when a local councellor is shot, the community unravels. A once peaceful town reveals all it’s dark secrets when the blame keeps shifting to nervous suspects in an attempt to find out who the murderer is.

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This is Not a Show About Hong Kong, Edinburgh Festival Fringe

by Laura Kressly

At the start of this piece that is definitely not about Hong Kong, we are asked not to take photographs. This is because the performers, who are absolutely not from Hong Kong, could face persecutions under China’s National Security Bill if they were caught making a show about Hong Kong. But this is all hypothetical, because this physical theatre show is not about Hong Kong.

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