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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Shackleton’s Carpenter, Jermyn Street Theatre

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by Laura Kressly

In 1914 Sir Earnest Shackleton set off to cross Antarctica via the South Pole, but the mission was cut short when one of the two ships froze in an ice floe that eventually crushed it. Miraculously, the men were able to seek help due to the ship’s carpenter repurposing the life boats to make them suitable for long journeys in turbulent water. That carpenter’s name was Harry McNish, and in his dying days on a New Zealand dock, he relives his memories of that voyage.

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She Sells Sea Shells, Edinburgh Festival Fringe

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by Laura Kressly

Mary Anning was a working class fossil hunter from Lyme Regis. She and her dad would sell their finds to the posh, Victorian collectors who wanted to horde artefacts without digging them out of the cliffs themselves. She became known as one of the best fossil hunters in the country, but her discoveries of new dinosaur species and their impact on science were, of course, attributed to wealthy men.  Now, about 200 years later, Mary’s tired of being ignored – so she hijacks a lecture about her work.

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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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To See Salisbury, RADA Festival

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by Meredith Jones Russell

Boshirov and Petrov are Russian men who find themselves on the run after they are implicated in the biggest spy drama of the decade. Accused of poisoning a compatriot on British soil with Novichok, they have hotfooted it back to Russia in an attempt to give the authorities the slip. But with their names and faces all over the media and a seemingly conclusive collection of evidence against them, their case looks desperate.

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Woke, Battersea Arts Centre

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by Laura Kressly

After graduating from City College of New York in the 1960s, Assata Shakur joined the Black Panther Party. In 2014, after enrolling at Washington University in St Louis weeks after unarmed teenager Michael Brown was killed by a white police officer in the same city, Ambrosia starts going to Black Lives Matter rallies. Moved by injustice decades apart, the two Black women are subjected to systemic racism and violence in their pursuit of freedom. Apphia Campbell performs them both, embodying their passion and anger through storytelling and song, in this lightning-strike of a show.

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Garry, White Bear Theatre

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by Laura Kressly

In the programme notes, director Graham Watts states, “there are hundreds of astonishing plays written by women that have never seen the light of day…Let me be clear. These are not ‘lost works’. They’ve never been considered and were simply ignored.” This world premiere by the writer of Machinal proves his point. Though several of Sophie Treadwell’s 39 plays were produced on Broadway, this one from 1954 – one of her last, and demonstrative of her skill and experience – has never before been produced.

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