Quiz, Noel Coward Theatre

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by guest critic Gregory Forrest

On 10 September 2001 – the last day of a different time – Army Major Charles Ingram  won the jackpot of ITV’s ‘Who Wants To Be A Millionaire?’ In the days that followed, the Twin Towers fell and producers of the quiz show made their case against the Major, his wife, and a coughing contestant who supposedly cheated their way to the million pound cheque. As one character observes, take a step back and the whole story sounds too silly to be true. Which is precisely why West-End regular playwright James Graham picks it up.

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Devil With the Blue Dress, Bunker Theatre

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by guest critic Amy Toledano

The political climate of 1990’s America may be something the world has largely forgotten, but playwright Kevin Armento certainly has no issue in reminding us of one of the country’s most memorable sex scandals. In his audacious new play Devil With The Blue Dress, Armento examines five women’s accounts leading up to – and resulting in – President Clinton’s impeachment in 1998. From the moment you set foot in the Bunker, you cannot help but be transported into what feels like the smoky underworld of dirty politics. This sensation can only be helped by saxophonist, and lone instrumentalist of the show, Tashomi Balfour, who underscores the entire piece with his smooth and often haunting melodies.

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Yokes Night, Theatre Royal Stratford East

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by Laura Kressly

Yokes (n.): Irish slang for ecstasy pills

In March 2015, a governmental gaff meant that for one night only, all drugs were legal. The good people of Ireland duly took advantage of this accidental loophole, leading to a night of glorious mess and the inevitable disappointment that comes from overinflated expectations. Two people, Saoirse and Harry, fall out with their friends and connect with each other during the glorious chaos in this sweet yet predictable story.

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Songs for Nobodies, Wilton’s Music Hall

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by guest critic Kudzanayi Chiwawa

If you’ve not been to Wilton’s, the oldest grand music hall in the world, it’s a wonderful treat. This tucked away venue, is the stage for the European premiere of Songs For Nobodies, written by acclaimed playwright, Joanna Murray-Smith, directed by Simon Phillips, and performed by Bernadette Robinson.

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Will, Rose Playhouse

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by Laura Kressly

Fan fiction has probably been around for as long as celebrity culture has existed, with the internet playing a pivotal role in its dissemination. But sharing her love of Shakespeare online isn’t enough for playwright Victoria Baumgartner, who brings her unbridled devotion to Shakespeare to the stage. This speculative, queer narrative presents Shakespeare’s ‘lost years’, between 1585 and 1592, with an earnest devotion that appeals to Shakespeare fans but lacks finesse and depth.

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Foul Pages, Hope Theatre

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by Laura Kressly

1603. Queen Elizabeth is dead, and James I is in power. Sir Walter Raleigh is imprisoned in the Tower for conspiring against the new king. His lover Mary pines for him in her stately home in Wiltshire, so she and her handmaid plot to secure the king’s favour by putting on a new play just for him, by Shakespeare’s company of players.

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