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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Three Sisters, Yard Theatre

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By Laura Kressly

British theatre’s slavish reverence for classic texts stifles innovation, resulting in safe, similar productions of the same collection of canonical works. This attitude needs to be challenged, and RashDash’s Three Sisters proves they’re the company to do it. Their female-centred, millennial take on Chekhov’s story of three women trapped in the Russian countryside pining for their old lives in Moscow is a gloriously irreverent and refreshing interpretation.

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A Gym Thing, Pleasance Theatre

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by Laura Kressly

Will is having a rough time so isn’t inclined to leave his Playstation. His worried mate Jay convinces him to join the gym with him, in the hope that it pulls him out of his funk. Unknowingly, Jay creates a monster. The gym gives Will not just new-found purpose, but triggers an addiction that totally transforms him from quiet and shy into a vain, self-absorbed and destructive force.

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Foreign Body, VAULT Festival

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by guest critic Alex Dowding

Sexual assault: It’s sadly been around since the dawn of time, and despite being in focus more than ever now since the #MeToo movement took off on social media, it may not ever go away. Here Imogen Butler-Cole alongside the charity He For She aims to de-stigmatise the dialogue surrounding it with a movement-heavy solo piece.

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