Lunatic 19’s, Finborough Theatre

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by Laura Kressly

As ICE parasitically invade peaceful American neighbourhoods and imprisons people in concentration camps, the country’s president spaffs racism from his twitter feed and white supremacists take to the streets. Life for immigrants in the US, documented or not, is terrifying right now and Tegan McLeod’s “deportational road trip”, certainly proves this. Though immigration control and the human face it takes on here is horrifying, McLeod’s script never quite settles on the narrative she wants to tell.

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Pizza Shop Heroes, Tara Arts

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by Laura Kressly

In an unassuming takeaway pizza place somewhere in London, four men answer the phones and process orders. They also reminisce about the journeys that led them there. From Afghanistan, Albania and Eritrea, they made their ways through war zones, deserts and detainment centres on their own, as children. Now they’re adults with hopes and dreams like anyone, but they are irrevocably shaped by their experienced as children seeking safety in a country that’s doing its best to deter them, and others like them, from living safe and peaceful lives. It’s time for us to listen to what they have to say.

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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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The Glass Menagerie, Arcola Theatre

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By Laura Kressly

In 1930s St Louis, Missouri, housing laws ensured black people and white people lived in separate neighbourhoods. Racial inequality was rife and the city as a whole, like the rest of the US, was suffering the effects of the Great Depression. The Wingfield family are no different – living in a tenement apartment, Amanda and her grown children, Tom and Laura, struggle to make ends meet. Stress, worry and resentment drives wedges between them, creating a tension stoked by Tennessee William’s exquisite language. In this production directed by Femi Elufowoju Jr, the Wingfields are black, so their dreams and aspirations are all the more devastatingly unreachable when contexualised by the segregation of the day.

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White Pearl, Royal Court

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by Laura Kressly

Sometimes writing reviews is easy. Thoughts are fully-formed, and words that convey them easily flow onto the page. Sometimes, it’s the opposite. Writing about complex plays full of culturally sensitive material requires a lot of care and awareness, both of the critic’s position in the world, and their relationship with the content of the play. It’s a reflective, delicate process that isn’t and shouldn’t be easy for those in positions if privilege.

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Feature |The Whitewashing of La Mancha

Windmills in Consuegra.

by Tony Diaz

The English National Opera’s upcoming concert performance of Man of La Mancha, a musical inspired by the Spanish classic novel Don Quixote, takes place in Spain where, coincidentally, all of the characters are Spanish. However, this production seems to include no performers of Spanish or Latinx descent.

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