A Brief History of Women, 59E59

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By guest critic Steven Strauss

If the powers-that-be At New York’s Brits Off Broadway were to name a resident playwright, Alan Ayckbourn would surely take the crown. 

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The Seafarer, Irish Repertory Theatre

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by guest critic Steven Strauss

The Seafarer, Conor McPherson’s Olivier Award-nominated play that premiered at the National Theatre in 2006, imagines the plight of humanity as that of lonely sailors lost at sea, teetering on the safe, dry deck of morality above treacherously immoral waters. No matter how far you roam, the Devil that is your sins of the past can always find you. Walking on water isn’t a foreign concept to celestial entities. A reckoning will come, and spiritual debts must be paid.  

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Returning to Reims, Theatertreffen

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by guest critic Maeve Campbell

The audience enters the Schaubuhne theatre to voyeuristically inspect the inane musings of two men, protected by the glass of a recording booth at the back of a beautifully brown, wood-panelled studio. This space provides the backdrop for an extended examination of European class politics through reading and discussion of French sociologist Didier Eribon’s memoir, a surprise best-seller in Germany last year.

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The Gulf, Tristan Bates Theatre

by guest critic Meredith Jones Russell

All is not as tranquil as it seems on a quiet shallow of the Gulf of Mexico – Kendra and Betty sit on a boat one afternoon ostensibly to fish, but in reality to thrash out their relationship. As night sets in, they begin to wonder whether they can ever escape where they have ended up.

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Pericles Prince de Tyr, Barbican

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by Laura Kressly

Flawless royal blue walls reminiscent of the sea surround an unresponsive, middle aged man lying in a hospital bed. Nurses and a doctor flit in an out, efficiently checking vitals and holding quick, whispered conversations with waiting family. This is Pericles, physically and mentally buffeted by a life of grief and tragedy, but this is not quite the story of Pericles that Shakespeare and Wilkins co-wrote. Translated into French and then adapted, Cheek by Jowl here present a man in poor physical and mental health trapped inside his head, in a world composed either of memories or the figments of his imagination.

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Stardust, VAULT Festival

by guest critic Joanna Trainor

There’s political theatre, and then there’s Stardust.

Arguably the most visually stunning piece to come to the VAULT Festival this year, Blackboard Theatre combine movement, out-of-this-world animations and the power of words to expose the dark world of the Columbian cocaine industry.

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