by guest critics Maeve Ryan & Mark Nilsson
The show opens with award-winning comedian Hannah Gadsby revealing that, actually, she plans to give up standup comedy. She confesses that she has spent her ten-year career doing the set up and punchline of jokes. Jokes, she says, are about tension: in the first part she creates the tension and in the second part she releases it, and then we laugh.
by guest critic Gregory Forrest
Hear Me Raw was perhaps the poshest theatrical experience I have ever had (and that really is saying something). It was a glowing auditorium of bad hair, good genes, and plastic prosecco, followed by a swarm of supportive mums murmuring ‘Oh, isn’t she brave’.
In world of Harvey Weinsteins, Bill Cosbys, MRAs and other own-brand misogynists in and out of the arts, A mini-festival of feminist theatre should be a soothing balm to the wounds wrought by male privilege. It is, in part. Though it’s great that feminist work is getting much-needed exposure, Maiden Speech varies in quality and lacks true intersectionality.
by guest critic Maeve Ryan
In her small Wiltshire village, Jaz says she’s ‘as black as it goes’. This is a beautifully made one woman show in which Natasha Marshall plays all the characters, but chiefly Jaz, a 17-year-young woman of mixed African and British parentage. Half Breed concerns self-identity and how self-acceptance can be the root to accepting others. It also concerns the deep intensity of young female friendship, for it is also a love story between Jaz and her best friend Brogan.
An actor stands on stage. They are handed a script they have never read before. A frank look at suicide, choice and learned behaviour unfolds after a menagerie of animal impressions.
An actor stands on stage. They are handed a script they have never read before. An hour of hilarious and revealing Mad Libs ensues.
An actor stands on stage. They are handed a script they have never read before. It’s a recipe that the actor must prepare whilst reflecting on the cultural importance and ritual of food.
An actor stands on stage. On the screen behind them, a script is projected they have never read before. Then there’s a live feed, a language lesson and a tender reflection on the meaning of home.
by guest critic Maeve Campbell
Shon Dale-Jones and Hoipolloi’s Me and Robin Hood has admirable intentions in aiming to raise awareness and money for charity ‘Street Child’. Dale-Jones’ one-man show is a personal narrative, part biography and part discussion on class and wealth divisions in Britain. The mythical medieval do-gooder is a central figure in the piece, an inspiration and obsession for the socially conflicted Dale-Jones.
I didn’t have any particular expectations from Joe Sellman-Leava’s new play on male violence. But I am joyfully surprised by an opening montage of rapidly-delivered Shakespeare, ranging from Othello to Taming of the Shrew. Disarmingly vicious in its delivery, this scene snaps into an audition for a play, then a house in Exeter, then the video research material for Joe’s character, and back again.