If This Is Normal, VAULT Festival

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by Zahid Fayyaz

This is a three-person play, following the lives and loves of a brother and sister, and their best friend, from when they first meet at school, to after graduation, to university. Along the way, their close friendship is threatened by various events and miscommunications.  Developed with support from the Soho Theatre development labs, this is a punchy and kinetic show, in which the hour passes by in – almost – the blink of an eye.

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The Incident Room, New Diorama Theatre

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by Laura Kressly

Over the second half of the 1970s, a serial killer murdered at least 13 women in the North of England. He attacked many others. Determined to stop him, the West Yorkshire police assign a small team of staff to the case, using a paper system to pursue and track numerous leads. Hardened force veteran George Oldfield helms the investigation, and he is determined that they leave no stone unturned. Shut away in a dedicated room at Millgarth Police Station in Leeds, they comb through evidence, argue over approaches and race to catch the Yorkshire Ripper before another woman’s body is found. Yet, they have another enemy – the systemic misogyny and pride that cause chasmic blindspots in their investigation.

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NUMB, VAULT Festival

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by Brad Tutt

Just before entering the theatre, a member of the company comes out to brief the audience. He there will be a joint audience and company discussion after the performance. This evokes a feeling that we are about to be confronted with something unexpected, which is proved right – by the company performing a live cover of a Rage Against the Machine song.

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Sound Cistem, VAULT Festival

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by Grace Bouchard

Heart-thumping music blaring, performers Ayden Brouwers and Lizzie Morris take the stage. As they dance towards each other, vibrant disco lights hitting their slow moving bodies, they ask “How do we look?” and “How do you look?”. It is at this point that we realise why we are here. We are here to look, and to observe.  Simply through the act of being in the room with them, I am complicit in demonstrating the impact the cis gaze has on transgender bodies.

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The Ice Cream Boys, Jermyn Street Theatre

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by Laura Kressly

Jacob Zuma, the retired president of South Africa, is in hospital for some tests. On checking into his room he discovers his nemesis, former Minister of Intelligence Ronnie Kasrils, in the room opposite. The two men have a long and complex history that unfolds over the course of Gail Louw’s play as a dialogue-driven wrestling match. Though their relationship has plenty of material to fuel discussions and augments about revolution, women, race and South Africa’s history, the plot meanders through topics rather than telling a cohesive story. Strong performances make this an engaging production minute-by-minute, but the overall result is not satisfying.

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Amatory Asylum, The Wellington Club

by Archie Whyld

Founder and director of House of Kittens, Sophie Cohen, has created a show which promises an erotic exploration into the world of unusual sexual obsessions such as objectophilia (sexual attraction to inanimate objects) or dendrophilia (love of trees – taking tree hugging to whole new level).

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