Why the Child is Cooking in the Polenta, Gate Theatre

by Louis Train

Why the Child is Cooking in the Polenta is an odd show, odder even than the name promises. Edith Alibec stars as a young Romanian woman, pre-pubescent in the earliest scenes, who grows up in a traveling circus where her mother hangs from the big top by her hair. The play is based on Aglja Veteranyi’s autobiographical novel of the same name.

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Brawn, King’s Head Theatre

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by Louis Train

What makes some people obsess over fitness? That’s the question at the heart of Brawn, a new play written and performed by Christopher Wollaton under the direction of Matt Staite. At a lean 60-minute run time, Wollaton, alone on stage save a pair of dumbbells, tells the story of how his character, Ryan, came to be the impressive physical specimen he is today, and what he has had to give up to reach it. Part confessional, part social insight, part torture, Brawn is a wise, shocking look into the mind of one man who wants to get bigger.

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Funeral Flowers, The Bunker

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by Laura Kressly

CW: rape and sexual assault

Making a bouquet of flowers is more than just bunging some random blooms in a vase. It takes care, thoughtfulness, skill and time to craft something beautiful and unique. People need that same sort of care and nurturing too, especially children and teenagers. This high stakes, solo performance shows the pressures that young women encounter daily, and how much they need support to grow and flourish in a world that is out to exploit them.

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Elephant in the Room, Camden People’s Theatre

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by Laura Kressly

What’s your anxiety like? For Michael, he feels stuck to the spot, unable to force himself to keep walking or to get out bed, or put on his hoodie. He knows he needs help but when he tries to discuss his worries with his friends, he is laughed at, brushed off or told to toughen up. Lost and alone, his struggles are captured in this physical, solo performance that gives a detailed perspective on the helplessness, expectations and daily struggles of a man struggling with mental health issues.

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Passionate Machine, Draper Hall

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by Laura Kressly

In 2015, Dr Rosy Carrick was in Russia researching the life and work of Vladimir Mayakovsky as part of her PhD. On an otherwise a normal day, she receives a note from herself. It’s rather different from the usual reminders her past self leaves her future self, like ‘phone mum’ or ‘pack daughter’s PE kit’. Dated 1928, she has written to her past self – due to incorrect calculations and broken equipment, future Rosy implores present Rosy to build a time machine to rescue her.

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Work Bitch, VAULT Festival

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by Joanna Trainor

Life is what happens to you while you’re busy making other plans.

Jessica Siân opens Work Bitch with an utterly manic laugh. The awful kind of laugh you develop when you have to laugh or you’ll cry. This is a proper tragicomedy at its core. The intelligent writing makes you laugh at these larger than life characters, all played by Siân, and then hits you with the added details – like the expression of the cook, who works every shift he can, when he thinks no one’s watching.

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Angry Alan, Soho Theatre

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by Laura Kressly

Roger’s an average guy down on his luck, living with his girlfriend after being made redundant and wishing he could see his son more. Still bitter about his divorce and losing his job, he passes time wondering aimlessly around the internet. When he emerges from a youtube rabbit hole that led him to the user Angry Alan, Roger feels like he’s woken from a long sleep. The Men’s Rights Movement has gained another disciple.

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