All Wrapped Up, Stratford Circus

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by Laura Kressly

Oily Cart makes gently immersive, highly sensory performances for people under five years old, and people with complex needs. This winter-themed touring show for little ones takes them into a world of colourful lights, dark shadows and sparkly parcels that reveal an array of treasure, from reams of bubble wrap, to coloured lights to a magnificent puppet constructed out of cellophane. As lights dim and glow amidst the white drapes and shimmering cushions, children are invited to explore the tactile, etherial landscape that evokes the the wonder of unwrapping presents on a snowy Christmas morning.

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Ladylike, Arcola Theatre

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by Nastazja Somers

Casa Festival, London’s largest Latin American arts festival is an annual event that is not
to be missed. Some of the most groundbreaking and refreshing work I’ve seen in my 8 years in London was staged at Casa, including the incredible, heart-stopping 2017 production of Mendoza, a Mexican adaptation of Macbeth. British theatre reflects British society so to say a resistance to staging international work is quite present would be an understatement.

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Citysong, Soho Theatre

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by Maeve Ryan

Citysong contemplates the timeless cycle of life by following three generations of a family on one important day. Writer Dylan Coburn Gray calls this lyrical piece a ‘play for voices’ and indeed the script began its life as spoken word. It won the Verity Bargate Award, which brought it from Ireland’s national theatre, the Abbey, to London. Both inner city theatres are perfect settings for this evocation of life and family narrated by a cab driver in a rain-soaked, streetlamp-lit Dublin.

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Oral, Camden People’s Theatre

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by Laura Kressly

CW: sexual abuse

I don’t think much about my mouth. I’m not a fan of the dentist – who is? – but I quite love filling it with food. In any case, I don’t really put any thought into my relationship with it. Theatremaker and mental health activist Viv Gordon, on the other hand, relives a childhood scarred by oral abuse every time she gets her teeth checked. Brushing them makes her gag. Yet her experiences are often dismissed, ignored or patronised, making her feel invisible. She’s had more than enough of that, so she made a show that demands awareness of the survivor’s plight.

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Play Two, Tristan Bates Theatre

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By an anonymous guest critic

As the audience enters the small studio space, we see a young man scribbling animatedly on a legal pad. Whether he’s mentally troubled or just in an intense creative state, we’re not sure. The mystery of this young man named Trevor (played by the play’s author Scott Howland) unravels over the course of the next hour in this new production directed by Harriet Taylor.

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The Ballad of the Apathetic Son and the Narcisisstic Mother, Edinburgh Festival Fringe

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by Laura Kressly

Lucy and her son Raedie have grown apart in recent years. Lucy is worried that her son lacks empathy, and Raedie thinks his mum is full of herself. Both of them love Aussie pop star Sia though, so they use her music, dance and physical theatre to explore their relationship and reconnect with each other in this real-life mother and son show.

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About Lady White Fox With Nine Tales, Edinburgh Festival Fringe

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by Laura Kressly

Shakespeare’s work is very much of his time and place, with his universality much more embedded in Western culture. Seeing a Korean company stake a claim on Macbeth and intersperse the story with its own cultural myths and legends is a potent reminder of the relevance of his stories and themes, and provides a unique filter for Western audiences to take in his work. There are plenty of issues with this physical theatre piece, but its use of the text as a starting point for a different story is a hugely refreshing take.

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