La Clique, Cavendish Square

by Zahid Fayyaz

The now ubiquitous cabaret and circus spectacular La Clique has made its annual return to London for its eighteenth year. As the compere says before the show started, the consumption of alcohol is very much encouraged. Though this leads to big queues at the bars, which will hopefully speed up over the run, it’s a great night out. Located in the spiegeltent in Cavendish Square, behind John Lewis on Oxford Street, it’s a lovely spot on sunny days.

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Barry Humphries: The Man Behind the Mask, Churchill Theatre

by Bill Dyson

This is a terrific evening in which Humphries appears as himself with no disguises. This show is an exploration of his life and career, and what influenced and prompted him to ultimately become an international star selling out theatres in the West End and on Broadway.

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Richard II, The Vaults

by Laura Kressly

Shakespeare depicts Richard II as an ineffective and selfish ruler with little regard for his people or country. Instead of ruling fairly, he wastes the country’s money on unnecessary wars and steals from citizens to recoup the costs. In director Annie McKenzie’s production, this results in a kingdom ridden with violence and poverty, signified by costumes little more than filthy rags, copious stage blood, and recurring fights. This concept largely works but is undermined by a slow start, unneeded movement sequences, and some inconsistent handling of the text. Though the second half dramatically improves, the first is somewhat baggy and lacking in urgency, reducing the cumulative impact of the whole.

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CONCHA, Brixton House

by Diana Miranda

As part of The Housemates Festival, City Lighthouse Theatre Company presents CONCHA, a one-person show (written and performed by Carly Fernandez) telling a semi-autobiographical story about intersectionality of queer and immigrant experiences in the UK. After the protagonist finds out they’ve contracted an STD, they navigate past and current relationships interacting with multiple characters through voice-overs.

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Eating Myself, King’s Head Theatre

by Diana Miranda

Unfussy and rich – that’s what Eating Myself is, in a good way. Although, one of the key takeaways from this one-woman show is that no rich Peruvian dish goes without a fuss. Eating Myself is an endearing monologue by Pepa Duarte about food that navigates the intersections between body stereotypes, family, traditions and cuisine.

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For Black Boys Who Have Considered Suicide When the Hue Gets Too Heavy, Royal Court

by Romy Foster

Frank Ocean fills the air, and audience members tap their feet and nod their heads in time. I jokingly ask my mum if she recognises the song as I recall how I wailed and begged about 10 years ago for her to download his album onto her iPod. Indulging in Frank Ocean’s music is like a Black right of passage. I don’t know anyone who doesn’t adore his range, and if you don’t – you’re lying.

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Bacon, Finborough Theatre

by Laura Kressly

Toxic masculinity is entrenched in contemporary life, from wider political and social systems to the minutiae of our daily interactions. It doesn’t just harm women; it also broadly shapes men and boys’ relationships with each other. One way this manifests is through displays of overt heterosexuality and other stereotypically masculine behaviour particularly in places like schools, where teenage boys constantly scuffle for power and try to fit in. Any new students need to quickly find their place in the hierarchy, preferably near the top. However, those who are already there sense their position is precarious so they bully anyone that could be perceived as a threat. Darren is one such lad who senses weakness in the quiet and bookish Mark who just joined their year 10 cohort, but Darren also senses something in himself that he believes must be kept in check.

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Playing Latinx, Camden People’s Theatre

by Laura Kressly

Guido Garcia Lueches is an actor from Uruguay who lives and works in the UK, which means that xenophobia and racism shape his day-to-day life. When he’s not attending auditions where he is asked to embody Latinx stereotypes, he regularly endures microaggressions from British people. This constant stereotyping is so unrelenting that he’s made a satirical, interactive show about the importance of fitting in as a migrant.

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Dogs of Europe, Barbican

by Zahid Fayyaz

This is the UK Premiere of Alhierd Bacharevic’s epic political and fantasy thriller, by Belarus Free Theatre. The original novel is banned in Belarus and the theatre company are now based in the UK, after seeking asylum following the Belarusian authorities attacking them for their plays and politics. It originally ran in 2019 in Minsk, and then across Europe in secret venues. The Barbican show – postponed from 2020 – is on a much larger scale, which works wonderfully with the epic feel of the show. The Russian invasion of Ukraine is present in mind whilst watching the show, making it seem even more prophetic than it may have been a couple of years ago.

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When We Dead Awaken, Coronet Theatre

by Euan Vincent

Arnold Rubek (Øystein Røger), a once great sculptor whose creative blaze now resembles little more than an ember, arrives in Norway with his young wife Maia (Andrea Bræin Hovig). He had once promised to take her to the top of a mountain and show her all that the world has. He never did. And so, she – young, frustrated – and he – despondent, lifeless – are stale and drifting apart. Along come Irene (Ragnhild Margrethe Gudbrandsen), Arnold’s long forgotten muse and former model and Ulfhejm (James Browne), a rugged bear-hunter – to tempt each into their separate awakenings.

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