The Mystery of the Raddlesham Mumps, Wilton’s Music Hall

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by Laura Kressly

Seven-year-old Crispin, newly orphaned and the last remaining member of the Clumps family, has inherited a creepy, country pile called Raddlesham Mumps. Managed by an ancient butler who could have stepped out of a Dickens novel or The Addam’s Family, of course there’s more to this house than meets the eye. The bright and articulate child questions what seem to be supernatural forces and a familial curse, but the answers he gets in this narrative poem are far from savoury.

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The Ice Cream Boys, Jermyn Street Theatre

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by Laura Kressly

Jacob Zuma, the retired president of South Africa, is in hospital for some tests. On checking into his room he discovers his nemesis, former Minister of Intelligence Ronnie Kasrils, in the room opposite. The two men have a long and complex history that unfolds over the course of Gail Louw’s play as a dialogue-driven wrestling match. Though their relationship has plenty of material to fuel discussions and augments about revolution, women, race and South Africa’s history, the plot meanders through topics rather than telling a cohesive story. Strong performances make this an engaging production minute-by-minute, but the overall result is not satisfying.

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Jade City, The Bunker

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by Laura Kressly

When Sas and Monty were kids, the world was full of possibility and adventure. Now that they’re grown, poverty, loneliness and their pasts have trapped them in Belfast, barely able to leave their flats. Infantilised by unemployment, they stay in and play pretend like they did as children. Whether its as bin men, Cuban revolutionaries or global travellers, The Game lets them ignore the harsh reality of the social and economic systems keeping them down. In Alice Malseed’s play, the past, present and imagined flow into each other like the lads’ days do, but Sas thinks its time they grow up.

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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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Tiger Under My Skin, RADA Festival

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by Laura Kressly

Panic attacks can make you want to tear your skin off so the animal underneath has room to breathe. For the character Tom Kelsey embodies in this solo-performance, that feeling is a daily reality. In an attempt to live a ‘normal’ life and beat ‘the fog’, he agrees to a night out that should be a good laugh with the lads, but his poor mental health means that this is far from easy.

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J’ouvert, Theatre503

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By Laura Kressly

Over the August bank holiday weekend, people of West Indian heritage have been celebrating their history and culture in the face of racial oppression since the 1960s. Bright colours, elaborate costumes, loud music, dancing, and lashings of rum mark the Carnival that’s now one of the largest in the world. In her female-led, debut play taking place over a day at Notting Hill Carnival, Yasmin Joseph pays homage to the people, young and old, that make up the event’s vibrant landscape and give it its soul.

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Equus, Theatre Royal Stratford East

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by Laura Kressly

Sex and power rule the world – or at least they do in the 1970s, little England hospital where Peter Shaffer’s play unfolds. A child psychologist, known for his successful rehabilitation of troubled children, is questioning the value and morals of his work. At the same time, he reluctantly takes on a new patient, a young man who inexplicably committed a horrific crime that has rocked the local community. As the pair spar their way through the lad’s therapy sessions, both reveal secrets they are ashamed to keep.

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