The P Word, Bush Theatre

by Zahid Fayyaz

This new play is a real treat. Written by and starring Waleed Akhtar, it is a duologue looking at the burgeoning love story between two Pakistani men. Played by Akhtar, Bilal is a young gay Muslim man who has responded to schoolyard bullying by hitting the gym and trawling Grindr for casual hook ups. There are hints of him of him wanting more, but he pushes it down every time
disappointment hits.

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Peaceophobia, Greenwich & Docklands International Festival

By Luisa De la Concha Montes

Peaceophobia, co-produced by Speaker’s Corner Collective, Common Wealth Theatre and Fuel Productions was conceived in Bradford in 2018. After four years in the making, and multiple delays caused by COVID-19, it made it to GDIF 2022, demonstrating that it is possible to turn community-led theatre into headlining events.

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The Cherry Orchard, The Yard

by Laura Kressly

Through his most recent play An Adventure, writer Vinay Patel proved he can masterfully sustain family dramas grappling with big themes. By sticking close to Chekhov’s original story, this adaptation of The Cherry Orchard set in the distant future does similar. A spaceship replaces the estate, but the strict social stratification with a stark disparity in privilege mirror early-1900s Russia. It’s a smart adaptation that works well in surprising ways, though the heavy use of Chekhovian, reflective dialogue and a lack of high conflict mean the story is often slow and baggy.

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Age Is a Feeling, Soho Theatre

by Laura Kressly

We have time, and life is short. It’s ok to make mistakes, and every choice has a consequence. Self-care is important and so is hitting milestones. These conflicting truisms living within us inform small decisions and big ones. As actor/writer Hayley McGee demonstrates, they are often the root of our greatest pleasures and most suffocating griefs. Her monologue narrating an unnamed person’s life, from age 25 through the years after the they die, hones in on key episodes that irrevocably define them and their future, as well as drawing attention to death’s inevitability. As sombre as this piece is, it also adeptly encapsulates moments of joy. As a whole, it’s deeply human and beautifully performed.

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100% Cotton: In a Spin, Edinburgh Festival Fringe

by Diana Miranda

Song-based storytelling with cheeky humour at its core, 100% Cotton: In a Spin captures snapshots of Liz Cotton’s life as an empty nester in a small village. The solo show unravels within a kaleidoscope of acoustic music, video delights, and storytelling sequences that smoothly interweave as she glorifies her lovely cat and parodies lockdown life with a suffocating husband.

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High Steaks, Theatre Deli

by Laura Kressly

Strips of raw steak hang in pairs around a clinical-looking platform covered in white plastic sheeting. They also dangle from a clothes peg pinching ELOINA’s vulva in a literal depiction of the crude term, ‘beef curtains’. She hated this part of her body when she was 10 years old. Since then she has come to understand this self-loathing, that can result in surgery to minimise and reshape a person’s labia, is the result of unrealistic genital depictions. Whilst there’s little she can do to change the porn, media and pop culture industries, ELOINA can raise awareness and foster self-acceptance.

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All’s Well That Ends Well, Royal Shakespeare Theatre

by Michaela Clement-Hayes

Although often deemed a ‘problem play’, All’s Well That Ends Well can also be said to be progressive. Our heroine gets a lot of stage time, soliloquies and – for want of a better word – sass.

And yet, some of the characters are lacking. We may never know why Shakespeare chose to write them as he did, but (and perhaps because we are not 100% sure of the final play) the idea that Helen and Bertram live ‘happily ever after’ because she’s carrying his child is a bit ridiculous.

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Much Ado About Nothing, Jack Studio Theatre

by Laura Kressly

Outdoor summer touring Shakespeare shows are about as British as they come. This one by Bear in the Air, apart from this short stop at the Jack, is no exception. There’s no dominant production concept, but the cast of six zip through the trimmed down script with confidence and energy. The performances are consistently excellent though some of the directorial choices mean there are issues.

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Block’d Off, Edinburgh Festival Fringe

by Romy Foster

A young black boy has just been stabbed in the hallway downstairs. The neighbours are sad but ultimately, not surprised. This one-woman show follows the lives of these working-class people in this typical London block.

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Breathless, Edinburgh Festival Fringe

by Laura Kressly

Sophie has started a new life back home in Plymouth after years of living in London. She finally has her own place, and things are going well with the woman she’s dating. However, something looms over her life that she can’t bear to let go of – the vast collection of designer clothes that takes up every spare inch of her new flat. The urge to hold onto these items that she sees as an extension of herself is all-consuming, but she also really wants to invite her new girlfriend over.

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