Chloe Petts: Transience, Edinburgh Festival Fringe

by Laura Kressly

As “the man she always wanted to be”, Chloe Petts is a devoted Crystal Palace football fan who embraces and is (mostly) embraced by lad culture. Her fellow season ticket holders who sit nearby, all very manly men, accept her as one of their own but she has issues when she goes to the loo. Over the course of this low-key hour Petts considers the effects of whether she is perceived as a woman or a man by those around her, and how this relates to the right-wing instigated culture war about trans people. It’s a pointed, provocative and very funny debut with heaps of promise.

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Boy, Edinburgh Festival Fringe

by Laura Kressly

In 1965, a Canadian couple give birth to identical twin boys, Brian and Bruce. When Bruce’s circumcision is botched and he is left without a penis, a doctor convinces his parents that the best way forward is to raise him as a girl. He thinks that with hormones and clear gender roles, Bruce – now Brenda – will be able to lead a normal life. The desperate parents eventually agree. This true story, dramatised by two adult performers and a zoo of soft toys, emphasises how enforcing strictly-defined gender binaries and stereotypes can have far-reaching, tragic consequences.

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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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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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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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