Napoleon Disrobed, Arcola Theatre

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by Laura Kressly

What would happen if Napoleon didn’t die on Saint Helena? What if he managed to not be imprisoned at all? This amusing Monty Python-esque, revisionist history suggests that with his doppelganger in exile, Napoleon tries to regain power in Belgium but is thwarted by supporter disbelief, poverty and the love of a melon seller. The comedy is punchy but the story is sparse, making for a joyful but baffling show.

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The Flying Lovers of Vitebsk, Wilton’s Music Hall

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by Laura Kressly

On the phone with his agent, an old man’s mind wanders to his youth. The shadows of WWI stretched across Europe and Russia, but it’s in these dark times that the now-aged painter met a beautiful writer. Falling in love with her was like flying.

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Hamilton, Victoria Palace Theatre

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Let’s get this out of the way first – does Hamilton live up to the hype? Yes. It’s very good. Though the revolution in the plot doesn’t influence the dramaturgy, that doesn’t mean it’s not a fantastic show that musically updates the genre and skillfully triggers a spectrum of emotions. It’s simultaneously epic and intimate, staged surprisingly simply with striking, sculptural choreography and utterly engaging throughout.

But this pro-immigration, hip-hop reinvention of the all-American musical about a country gaining independence from a distant, tyrannical overlord resonates rather differently in Brexit Britain than it does in America. Forget the NHS bus – could Hamilton be the new symbol of the Leave campaign?

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Freddie, Ted, and the Death of Joe Orton, London Theatre Workshop

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Freddie and Ted are a couple in 1960’s Brighton. At the start of their relationship, homosexuality is illegal so the two pretend that young musician Ted is older Freddie’s lodger. As time passes, equality is recognised and Ted grows up. The progressive young man is idealistic and forward-thinking, whilst his partner is stuck in the past. As tension builds between them, rifts form that might be too deep to be repaired.

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Snow White and Rose Red, Battersea Arts Centre

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Battersea Arts Centre’s family Christmas show for people aged 5 and up is far from the Disney version of Snow White. The children’s show by RashDash, creators of naked, feminist, Edinburgh hit Two Man Show, is also far from conventional kids’ theatre. Combining their woman-led, political ethos with the use of live music, the company reclaims femininity and appropriates the traditionally patriarchal adventure of fairytales in this spirited show for all ages.

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This Beautiful Future, Yard Theatre

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by guest critic Nastazja Somers

France 1944. A young French girl Elodike runs to meet her lover, a German soldier Otto. Their love is innocent and pure, the exact opposite of the world around them. This is a place that has been torn by war, despair and hunger. Yet the young pair of lovers find time and space to make love, talk about their family and friends, and most importantly connect – despite their differences.

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