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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Progress Premieres, Progress Theatre

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By Louis Train

Reading’s Progress Theatre introduces two original plays to the world this year with their annual Progress Premieres event: The Equivocators, an historical drama by Dan Clarke, and Peter’s Wife, a new social comedy by Christine Moran.

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One Million Tiny Plays About Reading, Progress Theatre

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by Louis Train

In One Million Tiny Plays About Reading, a pride parade passes through the town, two kids commiserate over their hard luck at school, a tour group visits the town centre, and an MP takes photos at a food bank. This charming kaleidoscope takes the model invented by Craig Taylor in his landmark play One Million Tiny Plays About Britain to present a few dozens vignettes about daily life in Reading.

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Monkeys Blood, Vault Festival

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by Laura Kressly

There’s a world of difference between London and the impoverished estates in Britain’s small towns. Mickey grew up on one in Hartlepool, a place famous for its historic execution of a monkey mistaken for a Frenchman, the more recent fraud case committed by John ‘Canoe Man’ Darwin, and not much else. Some of the town’s citizens maintain its xenophobic, monkey-slaughtering legacy in the form of anti-Muslim and anti-immigrant protests, even though they’ve never met anyone off the estate. Micky escaped these attitudes through a successful career as a children’s entertainer – or so he thought.

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Drenched, Vault Festival

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by Christina Bulford

A long raincoat and a tricorn adorning a nearly-sea-green hat stand set a scene of Cornish domestic bliss. The walls of The Pit drip, and the trains overhead roar like an angry sea. Daniel Drench, Cornwall’s most “prolific and unstable” storyteller invites us to breathe in and forget our busy days – but it’s a false and temporary lulling of our senses before he wakes us up, like a splash of cold sea water to the face.

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Guys and Dolls, the Mill at Sonning

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by Meredith Jones Russell

This is a real Christmas treat. Following a delicious festive feed at the Mill’s onsite restaurant before the show (included in the ticket price), settle back to watch a talented cast of dodgy gamblers, Salvation Army missionaries and showgirls perform such classics as ‘Luck Be a Lady,’ ‘The Oldest Established’ and ‘Sit Down You’re Rocking the Boat.’

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The Oresteia, Progress Theatre

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By Louis Train

“Things evolve,” writes Rhys Lawton, director of this youth production of The Oresteia. “The same topics for examination that were needed then [in Ancient Greece] are not needed now, so instead we have to look at the parts of society that haven’t managed to evolve; the treatment of women, the questioning of authority and the fear of the other.”

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