Double Trouble, Intermission Youth Theatre

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It can be tough to get kids to engage with Shakespeare. Many of them see the foreign-sounding language and old-fashioned stories as irrelevant to the issues they battle as growing up today. Fortunately, Intermission Youth Theatre artistic director Darren Raymond focuses on exploring contemporary themes in Shakespeare’s work with the 16-25s that make up the theatre company and convinces them to love the Bard.

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Joy, Theatre Royal Stratford East

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An increase in conversations on diversity indicates that people are starting to come round to the importance of more than a token few woman and people of colour on our stages. White male dominance in theatre is increasingly being called out, with some small and mid-sized venues and companies leading the way on diversifying their work. But physical disability draws less attention in the diversity debate, and learning disability even less so.

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Our Fathers, Traverse Theatre

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by guest critic Liam Rees

Think about your parents, or a parental figure. How have they impacted who you are now? Whether positive or negative some mark will inevitably and irrevocably remain.

Now consider the effect of growing up in a religious home, specifically as the child of a minister. The stereotypes that come to mind are either that they’ll dutifully keep the faith, join the ministry or violently rebel, like Nietzsche proclaiming ‘God is dead’ or worse, put those oratory skills to use in the theatre. Performers, and children of reverends, Rob Drummond and Nicholas Bone seem to exist somewhere in between the stereotypes.

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Turkey, Hope Theatre

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Toni and Madeline are happily settled in their North London home, but Madeline is missing something. From a young age, she has looked forward to being a mother. Now 32 and snuggly coupled, she thinks she’s running out of time to conceive. But as lesbians who can’t afford clinic fees, it’s not so easy. As her biological clock ticks, her desperation drives her to commit an appalling act of deception.

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Laika, Unicorn Theatre

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Sami and his mum are preparing for her to go to Mars for years and years and years. Both obsessed with space, Sami’s proud of her but worried that he might never see her again. To help him come to terms with her imminent departure, mum buys him a book about Laika, the first dog to go to space.

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The Toxic Avenger, Arts Theatre

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I’ve seen sexist theatre. I’ve seen ableist theatre. But it’s rare to come across a show that is so openly and unashamedly both of these things.

Even more frustrating, these aspects of the story are heightened and played for laughs. There’s no commentary or condemnation, just the worst parts of cult movies rolled into one superhero story reliant on anti-women stereotypes. The performances are excellent and there are some great tunes, but the overtly offensive storyline overwhelms any of the production’s positive aspects.

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