The Canary and the Crow, Edinburgh Festival Fringe

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by Meredith Jones Russell

In this semi-autobiographical tale of a working-class Black kid who gets in to a prestigious grammar school, writer and performer Daniel Ward is an insanely likeable and undeniably talented focus. His character, Bird, draws us immediately into his story with warmth and charm, accompanied by original grime and hip-hop tunes.

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Orpheus, Battersea Arts Centre

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by Laura Kressly

All of Little Bulb’s work I’ve seen has been thoroughly infused with joy. Though this story ends in loss and grief, their Parisian cabaret-style Orpheus is no different.

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Hadestown, National Theatre

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By Laura Kressly

How can we radically reinvent myths and classic literature? I mean, really radically – not in a box ticking way, or a modernisation the production wears like a piece of costume that doesn’t really change the thematic core of the story. I mean thoroughly, totally, completely. So all traces of horrible ‘isms’ and ‘ists’ are either reframed or criticised. 

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A herd of Zoo shows, Edinburgh Festival Fringe

by Laura Kressly

Over the last few years, Zoo has been quietly building its reputation as a venue, breaking the stranglehold that the Big Four and Summerhall have on high-quality work. With a loose focus on physical theatre and performance, they boast a programme varied in style, but also in quality.

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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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Big Bad, VAULT Festival

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by Laura Kressly

A woman is chained up in a damp cell. Alone, she is watched by an unseen group of men, afraid of her power. She rants, lectures and mocks them, gradually exposing the real reason she is imprisoned. It’s a pretty horrible thing, but her story of abuse, sexual power and society’s fear of strong women echoes like the howl of a wolf.

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The Tin Drum, Shoreditch Town Hall

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Oskar is a child of myth and legend. Or maybe he’s just bad-tempered and noisy. Either way, he comes into a fictional world of darkening shadows that’s clearly pre-WWII Europe. Born with a fully adult brain, he looks down on most people around him but has simple, childish request – that his mother buys him a tin drum.

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