Fatty Fat Fat, Vault Festival

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by Laura Kressly

Katie Greenall is a poet, musical theatre teacher and fat. She’s pretty much always been fat, and the world hasn’t let her forget it. Her reflection on life as a fat person is hilarious and vulnerable, poetic and frank, and deserving of every cheer she gets.

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Thriller Live, Lyric Theatre

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by Louis Train

Thriller Live, the Michael Jackson concert show on the West End, celebrated its tenth anniversary last night with a performance and a reception. The performance was great fun and the reception was tasteful, and the evening, overall, was a success. But I feel there were some lingering questions that neither the personalities on stage nor at the party can answer.

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How to Be a Londoner in an Hour, Centre17

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by guest critic Meredith Jones Russell

How to Be a Londoner in an Hour is part of a “politically charged” season at new venue Centre17 in Walthamstow. “Politically charged” wouldn’t be the most obvious way to describe How to Be…, unless you count repeated references to Boris Johnson, who hasn’t actually been London mayor for two years.

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Quiz, Noel Coward Theatre

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by guest critic Gregory Forrest

On 10 September 2001 – the last day of a different time – Army Major Charles Ingram  won the jackpot of ITV’s ‘Who Wants To Be A Millionaire?’ In the days that followed, the Twin Towers fell and producers of the quiz show made their case against the Major, his wife, and a coughing contestant who supposedly cheated their way to the million pound cheque. As one character observes, take a step back and the whole story sounds too silly to be true. Which is precisely why West-End regular playwright James Graham picks it up.

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The Marriage of Kim K, Arcola Theatre

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by guest critic Maeve Campbell

In 2011 Osama Bin Laden was killed, Pope John Paul II was beautified, and Kate and Wills tied the knot. Nearly as many people watched another televised wedding that year  as a new reality-TV religion swept the globe. This is where The Marriage of Kim K, a new opera penned by Leoe Mercer and Steven Hyde, begins.

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Worlds, VAULT Festival

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by guest critic Willa O’Brian

Housed in the studio space at the Vault Festival, which exudes graffiti-chic and pulls hip, supportive and discerning audiences, Bruised Sky productions presents Worlds, written and directed by Martin Murphy. Worlds opens with a nondescript pop song of the ilk that seems intended to tug on one’s heartstrings. The kind you hear over a montage of the hero of the rom-com sadly perusing photos of his ex-girlfriend when he has an epiphany about how to win her back. Needless to say, not an auspicious start, but we discover that one of the characters, Bas is a Dublin-boy living in London making a killing at being a musician, “mostly pop, really if I’m being honest with myself.” In a world where the number of downloads rather than emotional authenticity are the barometer to success, the track overlaying the opening is a rather fitting choice.

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Narcissistic Nativity, Fucking Little Elf Bitch, Rosemary Branch

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After 20 years running the Rosemary Branch, Cecilia Darker and Cleo Sylvestre moved on to pastures new in June this year. Unattended Items, a company with a focus on interactive theatre and design-led work, took over and have been busy programming work that has similar practices to their own.

Their Christmas bill of adults-only shows is no different. Urban Foxes Collective’s Narcissistic Nativity is a feminist, live art piece fighting against the patriarchy; Mammalian’s Fucking Little Elf Bitch is a one-woman show on the perils of working in a grotto. Both break down the fourth wall and use non-linear structures, and both need some tweaking for the sake of clarity, but this pair effectively balance current issues and laughs.

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