Coconut, Ovalhouse

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by guest critic Joanna Trainor

Rumi (Kuran Dohil) is a Muslim atheist, having to hide huge chunks of her life from her family. Including her new, white, non-Muslim boyfriend, Simon. What could possibly go wrong?

Coconut is one of those plays where each person who watches it will take away or resonate with something different, for me it was the role religion plays in our lives.

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How to Be a Londoner in an Hour, Centre17

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by guest critic Meredith Jones Russell

How to Be a Londoner in an Hour is part of a “politically charged” season at new venue Centre17 in Walthamstow. “Politically charged” wouldn’t be the most obvious way to describe How to Be…, unless you count repeated references to Boris Johnson, who hasn’t actually been London mayor for two years.

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The Comedy About a Bank Robbery, Criterion Theatre

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by guest critic Susannah Martin

After humble beginnings in a space above a pub, it’s an impressive feat to go on and conquer the West End, and Broadway too, but Mischief Theatre continue to prove why their productions are worthy of playing a variety of theatres across the world. Celebrating their second birthday at the Criterion Theatre, The Comedy About a Bank Robbery is the company’s third West End hit, and it’s easy to see why.

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Mark Thomas: Showtime from the Frontline, Theatre Royal Stratford East

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by guest critic Joanna Trainor

Mark Thomas knows his audience. He starts the show with a dig at Quentin Lett’s racist review before calling audiences at the Royal Court “a bunch of Tory fuckers,” and the room’s already onside. It’s obvious that almost everyone at the Theatre Royal Stratford East has seen Thomas gig before. The whooping coming from the elderly gentleman sat next to me when he came on stage was particularly lovely.

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A Night with Jason Robert Brown, London Palladium

by guest critic Susannah Martin

Songs for a New World, Parade, The Bridges of Madison County and The Last 5 Years – these are a just a handful of the musicals penned by composer Jason Robert Brown, and just few of the treats that were peppered amongst his packed-out, one-off concert at the London Palladium. A pre-recorded concert for BBC Radio 2’s ‘Friday Night Is Music Night’, Brown’s layered evening catered to theatre fans and music lovers alike.

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Reared, Theatre503

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by guest critic Joanna Trainor

“You look like a fucking idiot.” There was so much love in this insult, that with all the crap this family have to deal with you knew they’d muddle through it together.

For a play just short of 100 minutes, Reared addresses a lot of hefty issues in quite quick succession. Dementia, post-natal depression, losing your virginity, money problems, coming out – the first few scenes are a bit of a whirlwind. But overall writer John Fitzpatrick gives most of them the time they deserve so the story doesn’t feel gimmicky.

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