Passionate Machine, Draper Hall

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by Laura Kressly

In 2015, Dr Rosy Carrick was in Russia researching the life and work of Vladimir Mayakovsky as part of her PhD. On an otherwise a normal day, she receives a note from herself. It’s rather different from the usual reminders her past self leaves her future self, like ‘phone mum’ or ‘pack daughter’s PE kit’. Dated 1928, she has written to her past self – due to incorrect calculations and broken equipment, future Rosy implores present Rosy to build a time machine to rescue her.

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War with the Newts, Bunker Theatre

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by Laura Kressly

In post-Brexit Britain, the oyster industry struggles. Work is hard and profits are low. But when oyster harvester Captain von Toch sees mysterious images on the ship’s sonar and discovers a new creature that can quickly be taught fine motor skills, he revitalises his business and changes the course of the human race’s destiny.

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Lights Over Tesco Carpark, Edinburgh Festival Fringe

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by Laura Kressly

Poltergeist Theatre wanted to make a show about alien abductions, so they advertised locally to see if anyone had any stories. An email from a man called Robert leads them down a rabbit hole of research and testimonies that often sound mad – but is there truth in these stories that are so quickly written off?

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Sex With Robots and Other Devices, King’s Head Theatre

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by Laura Kressly

Whether you like or not, time and technological developments are marching on, impacting every aspect of our lives – including sex and relationships. Nessah Muthy’s new play proposes that soon the technology behind life-like robot Sophia will combine with hyper-realistic sex dolls already incorporating AI. In the world of the play, most people choose to buy themselves a made-to-order companion that satisfies all of their needs.

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Providence, VAULT Festival

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by guest critic Tom Brocklehurst

We discover H P Lovecraft, cult horror writer from Providence, Rhode Island, standing on the banks of the Providence River in 1910 threatening to drown himself. In an It’s A Wonderful Life-style intervention, the ghost of Edgar Allen Poe (Dominic Allen) arrives to try to talk him around. We then flash forwards through the rest of Lovecraft’s life in this biographical comedy, with Poe helping him along the way.

It sounds like a strange idea for a play, but it’s a suitably bonkers device for a show about a weird man who wrote very weird tales.

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Police Cops in Space, VAULT Festival

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by guest critic Tom Brocklehurst

The Pretend Men return with a ridiculous sequel to their action-packed police parody. Don’t worry if you missed the first one – you should still get a ticket to this! Done with parodying cop shows, we now get references to The Terminator, Blade Runner and Star Wars – to name but a few of the references.

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Disconnect, Ugly Duck

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Imagine a production of Waiting for Godot with more characters, set in space, where the audience chooses the outcome of the story. What you are picturing is probably gloriously weird and kitschy. But now add clumsy dialogue, some poor performances and a loosely applied Brexit analogy, performed on a set that looks like it’s built of cardboard and/or they ran out of paint. If your mind’s eye makes a different picture now, it be more accurate.

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