World’s End, King’s Head Theatre

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by Laura Kressly

It’s 1998, 19-year-old Ben and his mum Viv are moving house again. This time, they’re cramming all their belongings into a one-bedroom ex-council flat in World’s End, Chelsea. They quickly make friends with their neighbours, Ylli and his son Besnik, who are Albanian refugees. The aspirational Viv is unfazed by the move but quiet and high-strung Ben can’t cope. He’s determined to shut himself away with his Nintendo, but the charming and confident Besnik has other ideas.

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Blind Date, Edinburgh Festival Fringe

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by Meredith Jones Russell

A sexy French clown goes on a blind date with a willing gentleman from the audience. And it is wonderful.

As you are ushered in to the theatre to witness this potentially most alarming of spectacles, French waiters politely hand out small typed compliments from silver platters. ‘You are beautiful,’ reads one. This gives the immediate reassurance needed before this kind of show. This is not about humiliation or nastiness. Far from it, Blind Date is full of warmth, heart and even love.

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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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Mating in Captivity, King’s Head

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by Laura Kressly

Annie and Rob fall through their door, drunk and giggling. It’s their wedding night and they’ve got plans, but it turns out they’re not alone. When Annie discovers a naked man in their bed who turns out to be Rob’s ex-boyfriend, a hilariously weird chain of events kicks off with unpredictable results.

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Crystal Clear, Old Red Lion

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by Laura Kressly

Richard is an art dealer living a Bohemian life in the early 1980s – his London bedsit is cluttered with quirky finds from Portobello Market, he fills his time with music, wine and women. When years of not taking care of himself eventually take their toll on his body, writer Phil Young wants us to feel sorry for Richard but his misogynistic and abusive behaviour in this 1982 play makes this difficult to achieve.

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The Light in the Piazza, Southbank Centre

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by Amy Toledano

Based on the book of the same name by Elizabeth Spencer and published more than 60 years ago, The Light in the Piazza is a surprisingly progressive tale for its time. Finding acclaim with the 1962 film adaptation starring George Hamilton and Olivia Havilland, this story made a lasting impression on the likes of Richard Rogers, who was one of many composers looking to adapt it for the stage. Unfortunately, it was not until 1998, when Rogers’ grandson approached Spencer about giving the adaptation another go. From this, the version we see on stage was born, to great success.

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Garry, White Bear Theatre

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by Laura Kressly

In the programme notes, director Graham Watts states, “there are hundreds of astonishing plays written by women that have never seen the light of day…Let me be clear. These are not ‘lost works’. They’ve never been considered and were simply ignored.” This world premiere by the writer of Machinal proves his point. Though several of Sophie Treadwell’s 39 plays were produced on Broadway, this one from 1954 – one of her last, and demonstrative of her skill and experience – has never before been produced.

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The Glass Menagerie, Arcola Theatre

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By Laura Kressly

In 1930s St Louis, Missouri, housing laws ensured black people and white people lived in separate neighbourhoods. Racial inequality was rife and the city as a whole, like the rest of the US, was suffering the effects of the Great Depression. The Wingfield family are no different – living in a tenement apartment, Amanda and her grown children, Tom and Laura, struggle to make ends meet. Stress, worry and resentment drives wedges between them, creating a tension stoked by Tennessee William’s exquisite language. In this production directed by Femi Elufowoju Jr, the Wingfields are black, so their dreams and aspirations are all the more devastatingly unreachable when contexualised by the segregation of the day.

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Going Through, Bush Theatre

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by Laura Kressly

At the start of what seems to be a fairytale, we meet Nour and Yumna in their tiny house. They have just enough space for the two of them and all the things they need. Though Yumna’s ears don’t work, she’s teaching her language to the little girl she’s raising on behalf of her best friend whose gone to make a new life in a faraway land. They are happy, want for nothing, and their days are full of light, love and stories. But the bombs are getting closer, the men with guns are ever more threatening, and Nour’s mother could send for her at any point.

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