Closed Lands, VAULT Festival

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By Joanna Trainor

Concertina wire. I’m not sure it’s possible to get LegalAliens’ constant repetition of the definition of concertina wire out of mind. This sweet voice calmly talking about the tiny blades used to cut through material and skin over and over again is haunting. Continue reading

The Spirit part 2: The Lion, Battersea Arts Centre

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By Euan Vincent

Director Jack McNamara promised very different performances for each part of Thibault Delferiere’s Spirit trilogy. Attending Lion, we begin to see what he means. Audience filter in to find a desolate Delferiere sitting in a cage. Food is once again dangling from the ceiling, but whereas in the first it was an innocent apple, here a large chunk of meat, tantalises Delferiere from above.

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Atlantic, VAULT Festival

10by Joanna Trainor

I love an illuminated umbrella. All shows could be improved by a light-up umbrella.

Somewhere beyond the sea, Emma waits on the shoreline by the Golden Gate Bridge, and PJ looks out from some of England’s slightly less famous white cliff faces. At face value this is a story about a long-distance relationship and the struggles you face when you’re in one. But more than that it’s about isolation, dependence and the ties we have to other people. There are sections that are a little obscure, and the performance takes a while to warm up, but the underlying theme will always pull you back in.

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Gastronomic, Shoreditch Town Hall

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by Amy Toledano

Curious Directive have created a marvelous immersive experience with Gastronomic. This gorgeous piece of theatre brings us a story from the sky as we experience a first-class menu with a British theme covering curries on Brick Lane through to ice cream on Brighton Pier.

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Amsterdam, Orange Tree Theatre

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by Amy Toledano

In his first production as Artistic Director of Actors Touring Company, Matthew Xia brings this unique story to the Orange Tree Theatre in a new production. Written by Maya Arad Yasur, this play provides a brilliant perspective on the atrocities that took place during World War II, and how these acts spill over into and still impact the lives of those living in present-day Amsterdam.

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Are we not drawn onward to new erA, Edinburgh Festival Fringe

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by Laura Kressly

Whether society is moving backwards or forwards is a matter of debate, though in regards to climate change, it’s pretty clear we are determined to march onwards to our own destruction. Is it too late to undo the damage we’ve caused? Is magic the only thing that can save us? In this slick, multimedia production from Ontroerend Goed, the Belgian company employs clever staging, a palindromic structure, and impressive design to pose these questions, even though there are no easy answers.

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CLASS, Bush Theatre

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by an anonymous guest critic

CLASS, a play from Ireland co-written and directed by Iseult Golden and David Horan, is set around a teacher-parent meeting in a Dublin primary school. The teacher, Mr McAfferty (Will O’Connell), is a seemingly conscientious man who takes his job seriously. He invites the parents of one of his students, nine-year-old Jayden, to discuss his literacy learning difficulties.

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Why the Child is Cooking in the Polenta, Gate Theatre

by Louis Train

Why the Child is Cooking in the Polenta is an odd show, odder even than the name promises. Edith Alibec stars as a young Romanian woman, pre-pubescent in the earliest scenes, who grows up in a traveling circus where her mother hangs from the big top by her hair. The play is based on Aglja Veteranyi’s autobiographical novel of the same name.

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