Midnight Movie, Royal Court

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by Laura Kressly

Night can be a time of rest and escape, or mystery and danger where anything can happen. For people with chronic illnesses, vampires lurk in the darkness whilst those around you sleep. In the wee hours of the morning, playwright Eve Leigh seeks refuge online from her pain and corporeal limitations. Whilst it’s all too easy to condemn the downsides of an extremely online lifestyle, Leigh celebrates its ability to fly her around the world when her body lets her down. This millennial fever-dream of memories, horror stories and conspiracy theories blur the real and the internet’s dark corners as two actor/avatars and colour-soaked design convey the realities of a life punctuated by an uncooperative body.

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Dirty Crusty, The Yard

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by Laura Kressly

CW: sexual abuse, rape, suicide

Jeanine is in her early 30s and seems to have herself together, but her friends know better. Though she can hold down a job, a relationship and hobbies, she can’t manage to get a handle on cleanliness and hygiene. Not that this really comes across in this production, though. Jay Miller’s low-key, casual realism and a clean design contradict the filth that Jeanine is supposed to embody.

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Jade City, The Bunker

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by Laura Kressly

When Sas and Monty were kids, the world was full of possibility and adventure. Now that they’re grown, poverty, loneliness and their pasts have trapped them in Belfast, barely able to leave their flats. Infantilised by unemployment, they stay in and play pretend like they did as children. Whether its as bin men, Cuban revolutionaries or global travellers, The Game lets them ignore the harsh reality of the social and economic systems keeping them down. In Alice Malseed’s play, the past, present and imagined flow into each other like the lads’ days do, but Sas thinks its time they grow up.

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Die or Run, Edinburgh Festival Fringe

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by Laura Kressly

It’s the 1980s. Big hair, shoulder pads and synth-pop provide a backdrop for Margaret Thatcher’s advocacy of the individual instead of a collective society. This results in a country that loves to go out dancing, but when crisis hits, people find themselves isolated and overwhelmed. Denise’s journey from cheerful disco queen to depressed carer unfolds through a fragmented monologue of nostalgia, song lyrics and sound-bites. 

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Have I Told You I’m Writing a Play About My Vagina?, Edinburgh Festival Fringe

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by Laura Kressly

Bea wants to get drunk and get laid, as often as possible and with no strings attached, but she has a problem. Whenever anything tries to enter her vagina, it hurts. A lot. It’s like her vagina closes up and throws a tantrum about the probing finger, penis or sex toy, and it’s ruining Bea’s life. In Ella Langley’s tentative but hopeful new play on living with and overcoming Vaginismus, Bea’s vagina is suitably personified and Bea must get Vag to trust her again.

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Crystal Clear, Old Red Lion

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by Laura Kressly

Richard is an art dealer living a Bohemian life in the early 1980s – his London bedsit is cluttered with quirky finds from Portobello Market, he fills his time with music, wine and women. When years of not taking care of himself eventually take their toll on his body, writer Phil Young wants us to feel sorry for Richard but his misogynistic and abusive behaviour in this 1982 play makes this difficult to achieve.

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Lunatic 19’s, Finborough Theatre

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by Laura Kressly

As ICE parasitically invade peaceful American neighbourhoods and imprisons people in concentration camps, the country’s president spaffs racism from his twitter feed and white supremacists take to the streets. Life for immigrants in the US, documented or not, is terrifying right now and Tegan McLeod’s “deportational road trip”, certainly proves this. Though immigration control and the human face it takes on here is horrifying, McLeod’s script never quite settles on the narrative she wants to tell.

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