Thirsty, VAULT Festival

by Laura Kressly

Sara is in her mid-30s and feeling lost. Newly single after a transformational yet difficult relationship, she looks to her friends for support and inspiration about how not to live her life. They’re all mired in a cishet lifestyle filled with husbands, kids, and yoga. Sara, still desperately missing her ex, knows she doesn’t want these things but somehow has to move on and find a life that’s a perfect fit.

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Sad-Vents, VAULT Festival

By Luisa De la Concha Montes

Taking the cam-girl to a whole new level, Sad-Vents follows Eleanor Hill as she broadcasts her life journey to her Instagram followers from her messy bedroom. Surrounded by girly paraphernalia (condom wrappers, pregnancy tests, magazines, and the sweaters of her exes), Eleanor takes us on a 75-minute long monologue which explores topics such as abuse, loss, toxic relationships and sexuality through the lens of dark comedy. The title is entirely adequate; imitating the self-indulgent and voyeuristic nature of online venting, the play invites us to reflect on the consequences, trivialities and dangers of online commodification.

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Caceroleo, VAULT Festival

by Laura Kressly

In the wake of the #MeToo movement, the theatre industry interrogated rehearsal room dynamics and called for them to become ‘safe spaces’ where people are free from abuse. Whether or not productive change has actually occurred is up for debate, but this show proclaims that the concept of a safe rehearsal is highly subjective – what is safe for one person may not be for another. In this energetic and highly sensorial piece, actor/writer Rhys Hastings considers how growing up in an abusive home impacts all aspects of his life, including his acting work.

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Project Atom Boi, VAULT Festival

By Luisa De la Concha Montes

Project Atom Boi follows the story of Yuanzi (Xiaonan Wang), a doomer who, pressured by a self-indulgent Filmmaker (Francesca Marcolina), starts re-exploring the memories of her childhood in China. Yuanzi grew up in Factory 404, a Cold War ghost town in the Gansu province that was built in the fifties with the sole purpose of hosting a nuclear weapon. As Yuanzi travels back in time, we also meet her childhood best friend Erdan and her grandfather (both played by Kelvin Chan).

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The Lost Lending Library, Bernie Grant Arts Centre

by Tom Brocklehurst

Celebrated immersive theatre company Punchdrunk, currently performing across town to grown-ups in The Burnt City, prove that they have the capability to engage and enchant a younger audience as well through their educational arm, Punchdrunk Enrichment. All tickets are pay-what-you-can so it’s a brilliant incentive that allows access to families who might not otherwise be able to afford a family Christmas show across most of London.

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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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Super High Resolution, Soho Theatre

by Luisa De la Concha Montes

CW: suicide

Turning to medical settings for drama is not a new endeavour. With long-running series like ER and Grey’s Anatomy, the plot of Super High Resolution might sound overdone in the first instance. However, contrary to TV blockbusters, Nathan Ellis’ new play utilises simplicity to defy expectations and tackle the elephant in the room: the collapse of the NHS.

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Evening Conversations, Soho Theatre

by Laura Kressly

Sudha Buchar has had an extraordinary career as an actor, writer and producer. Other parts of her life are equally exciting – born in Tanzania to Indian parents, her early childhood was spent between East Africa and Asia before moving to the UK at age 11. Now 60 years old and long-settled in middle-class Wimbledon with a husband and two Gen-Z sons, she reflects on a vast range of topics in her stream-of-conscious monologue. Generational differences, race, feminism, and her neighbours are just a few of these that make up this chatty and reflective staged reading.

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Wipe These Tears, Camden People’s Theatre

by Laura Kressly

Operation Desert Storm. An English primary school. Guantanamo Bay. The Green Zone. A village in Afghanistan. These are some of the places where writer Sînziana Cojocărescu situates individual stories of colonisation and oppression. Informed by interviews with over 90 people involved in or survivors of war and conflict, as well as activists and researchers, the resulting collage of violence forces audiences to reckon with white western imperialism.

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