We Dig, Ovalhouse

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by Laura Kressly

The main stage at Ovalhouse isn’t there anymore. Neither is the floor beneath it or the concrete foundations below, but there is a hole, and a lot of yellowish dirt. Emma Frankland and other four trans and nonbinary artists are energetically digging it, searching for relics and memories of their trans family that preceded them. They also dance, tell stories and share their fears and hopes for the future in this vulnerable and celebratory performance piece on trans identity and lived experience.

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This is Black Festival, The Bunker

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by Romy Foster

This is Black is a festival of new writing by black writers curated by director/writer/creative producer Steven Kavuma. It feels like so much more than just any other festival. The event consists of two double bills that alternate performances and are followed by a DJ set every Friday and Saturday night.

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The Sea Queen and Twelfth Night, The Scoop

by Laura Kressly

Since 2003, there has been a summer of free, open-air theatre at The Scoop, a sweeping, granite amphitheatre on the Thames next to City Hall. This year’s double-bill is a 90-minute version of Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night and a new children’s musical, The Sea Queen. Performed by one cast doing double-duty, Twelfth Night is the far superior show though there is plenty to appeal to young children in The Sea Queen.

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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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Seven Methods of Killing Kylie Jenner, Royal Court

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by Romy Foster

Kylie Jenner has just been announced as the world’s first ‘self-made billionaire’ and Cleo is VEX. Feeling this is undeserved, she has launched a tirade of tweets from her anonymous Twitter account @Incognegro about how to kill a social media entrepreneur or, as Cleo thinks of her, a ‘con artist-cum-provocateur’. She is now shut in her bedroom receiving persistent whatsapps from best friend Kara, who is worried about Cleo’s online rant.

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A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Shakespeare’s Globe

by Laura Kressly

Viewed through a contemporary lens, this can be considered one of Shakespeare’s more problematic plays. A woman prisoner forced to marry her conqueror’s leader, a man trying to force his daughter into an arranged marriage, and fairies forcing teenagers and each other to fall in love, are key aspects of the story that can’t be cut and all are framed by comedy. But at Michelle Terry’s gaff, director Sean Holmes deals with the first admirably and embraces the chaos of the latter two in this psychedelic, fever-dream of an interpretation that is colourful, pacey and full of contemporary jokes.

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Woke, Battersea Arts Centre

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by Laura Kressly

After graduating from City College of New York in the 1960s, Assata Shakur joined the Black Panther Party. In 2014, after enrolling at Washington University in St Louis weeks after unarmed teenager Michael Brown was killed by a white police officer in the same city, Ambrosia starts going to Black Lives Matter rallies. Moved by injustice decades apart, the two Black women are subjected to systemic racism and violence in their pursuit of freedom. Apphia Campbell performs them both, embodying their passion and anger through storytelling and song, in this lightning-strike of a show.

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J’ouvert, Theatre503

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By Laura Kressly

Over the August bank holiday weekend, people of West Indian heritage have been celebrating their history and culture in the face of racial oppression since the 1960s. Bright colours, elaborate costumes, loud music, dancing, and lashings of rum mark the Carnival that’s now one of the largest in the world. In her female-led, debut play taking place over a day at Notting Hill Carnival, Yasmin Joseph pays homage to the people, young and old, that make up the event’s vibrant landscape and give it its soul.

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Sherlock Holmes: The Sign of Four, Greenwich Theatre

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by Meredith Jones Russell

In this post-Cumberbatch age, you can’t help but feel slightly sorry for any actor taking on the role of Sherlock Holmes. The BBC series has provided such a defining image of Holmes to a generation that one wonders why a company might take on another rehash of a Conan Doyle classic.

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