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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Chiaroscuro, Bush Theatre

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by Laura Kressly

Beth, Opal, Aisha and Yomi are working-class women of colour. They’re busy with dates, dinner parties, and games of pool at their local, over which they bond, confide and fight. Their stories are punctuated by soulful songs providing further insight into their fears, insecurities and loves. These women could easily be young Londoners today – but Jackie Kay’s gig-theatre show was written in 1986. This relevant, moving production addressing issues of sexuality and identity, and centered on characters that are often left out of theatrical narratives, is a vital and vibrant contribution to contemporary theatre.

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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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Garry, White Bear Theatre

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by Laura Kressly

In the programme notes, director Graham Watts states, “there are hundreds of astonishing plays written by women that have never seen the light of day…Let me be clear. These are not ‘lost works’. They’ve never been considered and were simply ignored.” This world premiere by the writer of Machinal proves his point. Though several of Sophie Treadwell’s 39 plays were produced on Broadway, this one from 1954 – one of her last, and demonstrative of her skill and experience – has never before been produced.

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Queereteria TV, Above the Stag

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by Archie Whyld

In 1988, when I was a 13-year-old boy in a provincial town in Derbyshire, being in
possession of Erasure’s number-one album The Innocents was a big deal. It was cool to
know the names of the synthpop duo, Andy Bell and Vince Clarke. ‘Yeah, we’re going to see Andy and Vince in concert, yeah, Andy Bell, Vince Clarke, Andy and Vince’, we bantered in the playground as casually as possible. So to see Andy Bell as Torsten in Queereteria TV, relatively up close, in the flesh, was for me a piece of pop history, big deal again, nostalgia.

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After Edward, Shakespeare’s Globe

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by Laura Kressly

A man who may or may not be King Edward II finds himself on a stage, with an audience watching and waiting to see what happens next. He has no idea where he is or how he got there, but he’s in good company. Gertrude Stein, Quentin Crisp and Harvey Milk are locked in with him, and they’re none the wiser as well. They all want to get out, but something sinister wants to get in and they can’t to escape until they determine why they’re there in the first place.

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