Once, Fairfield Halls

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by Laura Kressly

Made for a mere €112,000, Once is an award-winning, hit indie film. It’s easy to see why in the stage adaptation that has been running regularly around the world since 2011. The melancholic, Irish music performed by actor-musicians and the almost-love story set this show apart from the bold, brash showiness of musicals that stick more closely to traditional forms. It’s appeal lies in the story’s delicate balance of tapping into that tender part of the heart that sadly knows happily-ever-afters aren’t real, and the unrequited celebration of music’s power to bring people together.

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Cinderella, Fairfield Halls

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by Laura Kressly

Croydon’s Fairfield Halls re-opened to much fanfare this year, and their traditional pantomime – with all the glitz, glamour and gags that you’d expect – is ramped up with Disney-quality animations, LED screens and special effects. Though all the problematic elements of panto are still there – like heteronormativity, misogyny, and narrow gender roles – this production showcase the capabilities of tech within what is now a conservative form.

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A Kind of People, Royal Court

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by Laura Kressly

Pretty much anyone that isn’t rich is never far away from losing everything no matter how aspirational they might be. A decade of austerity measures mean that anything going wrong, like losing a job or a relationship breaks down, can lead to ruin within a matter of months, particularly for those who are already marginalised by Britain’s systemic inequality. At the start of Mark’s birthday party, it’s a possibility doesn’t occur to anyone. By the end, racism from one of the party guests catalyses a series of events that shows just how vulnerable people of colour and the working class are, and how desperation can make all of us do things that are ethically and morally questionable, even to our friends and families.

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Kneehigh’s Ubu!: A Singalong Satire, Shoreditch Town Hall

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By Laura Kressly

It’s election day in Lovelyville, a place that lives up to its name and is the exact opposite of Britain at the moment. Its citizens are friendly, cheerful and compassionate, and when Nick Dallas is reelected president, things should keep ticking on quietly as usual. Of course, people can’t leave well enough alone and good things never last forever – Mr and Mrs Ubu have just arrived in town with sinister ambitions. 

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Post Popular, Soho Theatre

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by Laura Kressly

I feel for the stage manager that has to coordinate the clean-up after this show. Soil, leaves, ketchup, chocolate wrappers, cherry bakewell crumbs, fake flowers and bodily fluids are everywhere. Lucy McCormick is certainly the queen of filth. She’s also ruler of the absurd, grotesque and biting social commentary. Though her previous show Triple Threat is more sophisticated than this one, comedy and vulgarity join forces as McCormick chronicles history’s strong women in the hopes of finding herself a hero.

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Amatory Asylum, The Wellington Club

by Archie Whyld

Founder and director of House of Kittens, Sophie Cohen, has created a show which promises an erotic exploration into the world of unusual sexual obsessions such as objectophilia (sexual attraction to inanimate objects) or dendrophilia (love of trees – taking tree hugging to whole new level).

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