The Daughter-in-Law, Arcola Theatre

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by Laura Kressly

Men are immature and women are cruel.

With this damning premise, D H Lawrence condemns straight couples to lives of vengeful misery. Minnie and Luther are newlyweds, but the cold viciousness of married life has already sunk its claws in. Both feel trapped. Luther’s lack of ambition to progress in his job down the coal pits winds up Millie, who just wants him to love her as much as he loves his mother.

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Sex With Robots and Other Devices, King’s Head Theatre

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by Laura Kressly

Whether you like or not, time and technological developments are marching on, impacting every aspect of our lives – including sex and relationships. Nessah Muthy’s new play proposes that soon the technology behind life-like robot Sophia will combine with hyper-realistic sex dolls already incorporating AI. In the world of the play, most people choose to buy themselves a made-to-order companion that satisfies all of their needs.

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Pyar Actually, Theatre Royal Stratford East

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by Laura Kressly

Polly lives in Gravesend, has a good job at the council, a husband and two children. Life is…fine. No, really – she insists all is well. Other than a few meddling Aunties and standard marital discontent, it’s fine. Then Bali, her school boyfriend, calls her after 20 years. He’s in town, and would she like to meet for a coffee?

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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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Albatross, Gate Theatre

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by Laura Kressly

There aren’t many writers who conjure stories the way Isley Lynn can. Her innate instinct for achingly human characters in situations rarely – if ever – seen on stage sets her well apart from most young playwrights. Her oeuvre includes Skin a Cat, a hilarious and necessary story of a young woman navigating dating and sex whilst unable to be vaginally penetrated, and Tether, the journey of a blind woman and her guide training for a marathon. These intimate stories leave a huge impact when set on stage, their echoes long reverberating with her audiences.

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All Boxed Up, VAULT Festival

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by guest critic Alex Dowding

You wake up every day, stumble bleary-eyed into the kitchen, pour yourself a bowl of cereal, gaze at that oh-so-cheery character on the box and wonder what the hell they could be so happy about. Sound familiar? Well, All Boxed Up is what happens when writer Sammy Kissin stares at the lifeless eyes on the box until they start staring back.

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