Lobster, Edinburgh Festival Fringe

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by Laura Kressly

Modern dating for straight women is a horror show of dick pics, ghosting, casual sex, stealthing, quashed hopes and heartbreak. Yet Polly keeps at it, convinced she’ll eventually find her lobster – a baffling and tasty creature that will commit to her for life. Fragile and fresh out of a relationship with a guy she thought was the one, she enthusiastically dips her toe back into dating in this cheerful account of her hunt for The One.

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Does My Bomb Look Big in This?, Soho Theatre

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by Laura Kressly

Aisha and Morgan have to go to school one day in August, like almost every other 16-year-old in the country, to collect their GCSE results. Their school is different from the rest of the country’s though – news teams are at the gates of Mitcham High reporting on the recent disappearance of Yasmin Sheikh, dubbed ‘terror baby’ by the Home Secretary. Frustrated with her best friend’s depiction in the media and the way she has been treated by the police after Yasmin left for Syria, Aisha is determined to tell the story of the girl behind the headlines and enlists Morgan’s help.

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WOW EVERYTHING IS AMAZING, Battersea Arts Centre

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by Laura Kressly

As the world feels more and more like a dystopian nightmare that could explode at any moment from greed and relentless late capitalism, it’s unsurprising that young people are worried about their future. Sounds Like Chaos are a soothing balm for them, though. The associate company at the Albany supports referred and self-referred 12-21 year olds with training, employment opportunities and opportunities to make theatre, treating them with respect and valuing their ideas. Their latest ensemble work is set in the near future, using music, projections and ritual to critique online culture.

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Angry Alan, Soho Theatre

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by Laura Kressly

Roger’s an average guy down on his luck, living with his girlfriend after being made redundant and wishing he could see his son more. Still bitter about his divorce and losing his job, he passes time wondering aimlessly around the internet. When he emerges from a youtube rabbit hole that led him to the user Angry Alan, Roger feels like he’s woken from a long sleep. The Men’s Rights Movement has gained another disciple.

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Feature | ‘No More #Notallmen’: an open letter from men in theatre

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In light of recent reports of abuse, it has become apparent that many of us have failed to engage with the dark truths that hide beneath the surface of of the theatre industry. Action needs to be taken regarding the treatment of our female colleagues. Men in our industry need to listen, build awareness and stop trying to define others’ experience. We need to learn how our behaviour and language can affect women negatively. We must respect their perspective rather than getting defensive and telling our female colleagues that they are wrong.

This is on all men, and up to all men, to actively stop abuse and harassment. No woman should feel that the male gaze defines her talent and potential to succeed, but it is not enough to simply think this. It is time for all of us to make this happen at all levels.

No more #notallmen.

It’s time for those responsible to face the consequences of abusing their position. We will fully support anyone wishing to come forward and ask for help, allow them to tell their story, and help them take any action possible to stop it from happening again, both to themselves and to others.

We are asking for the creation of an independent, unbiased HR for the creative industries via The Arts Council (or similar body) to help those employers and employees without these resources and provide a vital source of support and recourse for those who desperately need it.

We won’t accept or excuse the behaviour of ‘characters’ regardless of status. We will end the fear of exclusion that has for so long propped up and protected the abusers. That ends now.

Claims that inappropriate language and behaviour are just ‘banter’ is harmful. It is this mindset that allows problems to fester and grow. They must be tackled by all of us head on, whenever and wherever we come across them.

We will work to ensure a safe, welcoming environment of expression. We will listen and not talk over, not justify, and not ignore rumours. Instead, we will reach out to those affected and offer our support.

We are now in the process of creating a living policy document, a link to which we will send out in the next few weeks. In addition to this document, the website that it sits on will also include links to sites and resources that may be useful in whatever capacity. They may include confidential advice services, legal support for anyone who wishes to speak out, or policy and avenues that can be taken regarding HR to seek further information.

We acknowledge our ignorance in this area. We need, request and would greatly appreciate any input, ideas and guidance to help create a charter of principles. These will create the impetus for us all to take meaningful, tangible actions that can be adopted by us all so that we can effect real change.

This is not perfect; it’s a start, not a conclusion, to the problem – let’s talk, listen, learn and together build a new industry that is all the things we imagined the arts were when started out.

Let us be kind, let us be human.

Signed:

Daniel Perks, Tommo Fowler, Will Adolphy, Martin Derbyshire, Leon Fleming, Andrew Darren Elkins, Luke Barnes, John Donnelly, Hector Moyes, Tim Cook, Niall Phillips, Alistair Wilkinson, Alex Dowding, Carl Woodward, Adam Morley, John Byrne, Roberto Iandi, Matthew Dunster, Paul Chesterton

The Play’s the Thing UK is committed to covering fringe and progressive theatre in London and beyond. It is run entirely voluntarily and needs regular support to ensure its survival. For more information and to help The Play’s the Thing UK provide coverage of the theatre that needs reviews the most, visit its patreon.

Big Guns, Yard Theatre

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Do social media and violence against women go hand in hand? Are we all rendered voyeurs or exhibitionists by the internet? Is the web the downfall of society? Nina Segal’s two-hander Big Guns suggests that the answer to these big questions is a resounding “yes”. The relentless delivery of violent imagery doesn’t tell us anything new about the modern world, but in its red-soaked telling, Segal forces us to take a look at ourselves and decreasing sensitivity to the horrors around us.

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Blood & Bone, VAULT Festival

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By guest critic Alistair Wilkinson (@alistairwilks)

A political satire, blended with sexualised humour, with a sprinkle of fertiliser-addicted plants that just want to have fun with their mates – what more could you ask for on a Wednesday night? The overriding rule of their way of life – do not leave the greenhouse. If you do, be prepared to fall prey to being a part of a hipster vegan’s Instagram post.

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