Brown Boys Swim, Soho Theatre

by Laura Kressly

Little can get in the way of teenagers’ hormones. In Kash and Mohsen’s case, the fact they can’t swim isn’t going to stop them going to the biggest event of the year, Jess Denver’s pool party. They’ll simply learn how so they don’t embarrass themselves in front of their entire year group. After all, Kash needs to flaunt his gains in front of the girls, and Mohsen will provide reluctant moral support. With a whole month to go, surely they can figure it out. Swimming’s not that hard, right?

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Peaceophobia, Greenwich & Docklands International Festival

By Luisa De la Concha Montes

Peaceophobia, co-produced by Speaker’s Corner Collective, Common Wealth Theatre and Fuel Productions was conceived in Bradford in 2018. After four years in the making, and multiple delays caused by COVID-19, it made it to GDIF 2022, demonstrating that it is possible to turn community-led theatre into headlining events.

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Age Is a Feeling, Soho Theatre

by Laura Kressly

We have time, and life is short. It’s ok to make mistakes, and every choice has a consequence. Self-care is important and so is hitting milestones. These conflicting truisms living within us inform small decisions and big ones. As actor/writer Hayley McGee demonstrates, they are often the root of our greatest pleasures and most suffocating griefs. Her monologue narrating an unnamed person’s life, from age 25 through the years after the they die, hones in on key episodes that irrevocably define them and their future, as well as drawing attention to death’s inevitability. As sombre as this piece is, it also adeptly encapsulates moments of joy. As a whole, it’s deeply human and beautifully performed.

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Learning to Fly, Edinburgh Festival Fringe

by Laura Kressly

James Rowland’s Songs of Friendship trilogy focuses on the equally hilarious and moving antics he got up to with his best mates Tom, Sarah and Sarah’s partner Emma over the years. These include stealing a friend’s remains and giving him a Viking funeral, and donating sperm to Sarah and Emma. This show is situated outside of that group of friends. Instead, it focuses on another mate who is far less conventional. Though Rowland’s work here is not as neat or as focused as his previous shows, his seemingly truthful delivery and comic timing are as engaging as ever.

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Half-Empty Glasses, Edinburgh Festival Fringe

by Laura Kressly

Toye is 16 and ready to change the world. But first, he has an audition for a music scholarship at a private school, all his coursework, his friends always want him to hang out, and his dad is ill. He also wants to while away the time reading up on the Black British people and history that’s left out of the inadequate school curriculum. In short, he’s very busy and trapped in a racist and inflexible education system that he wants to change but also exploit to his advantage, and the pressure is starting to get to him.

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Happy Meal, Edinburgh Festival Fringe

by Laura Kressly

Bette and Alex first meet as young teenagers in the early-00s on the kids’ online gaming platform, Club Penguin. As they grow up, they move to MySpace and Neopets, then Facebook, Twitter and Reddit. As much as older generations are quick to criticise young people being terminally online, the anonymity of these platforms allow them to safely be their authentic selves. In Alex’s case, he’s a closeted trans guy living as a lesbian. Bette, also trans, appears to be a gay boy. As their relationship develops and they navigate their transitions, the pressures of cisnormativity cause tension that risks the collapse of their long-term, online friendship.

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The Land of Lost Content, Pleasance Theatre

The Land of Lost Content at Pleasance Theatre | Theatre review – The  Upcoming

by Diana Miranda

Henry (Henry Madd) has always found it easier to tell other people’s stories rather than his own. So that’s what he does in The Land of Lost Content where he turns the Pleasance Downstairs into his hometown Dulowl. As part of the Vault Festival transfer season, the show lays out the growing pains in the hearts and bodies of a group of mates that grew up in this little village that happens to rhyme with ‘dull’. Harry’s old friend Jake (Darragh Hand), who now sees him as a somewhat disloyal outsider, welcomes him at the local pub. Pint after pint, they engage with vivid memories from the old days
before Henry moved away. As he tells us, their real-world adventures come nowhere close to the coming-of-age glory promised by movies.

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ENG-ER-LAND, Dulwich College

photo: Ali Wright

By Romy Foster

She shoots, she scores with this one. Waiting for her friends to arrive so they can watch Coventry FC live, we join teenager Lizzie as she takes us on a nostalgic stroll down memory lane to the mid-90s. The show is packed with classic tracks and brand references from the era you may have tried to erase from your memory whilst reminiscing about all the bad outfit choices we made as teens. It’s also full of committed dance moves, chants and audience participation.

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Fair Play, Bush Theatre

Fair Play - Bush Theatre, London - The Reviews Hub

by Laura Kressly

Sophie has been running competitively since she was nine. Now on the threshold of adulthood, she’s training hard with an unwavering focused on major international competitions she is likely to win. Her life completely revolves around her sport and everything else – school, relationships, hobbies – are so far out on her periphery they often disappear. The arrival of a new girl at her running club, Ann, initially changes little for Sophie until their friendship develops and Ann starts pulling far ahead.

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