YAYAYA AYAYAY, Southbank Centre

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By Laura Kressly

The infant Earth was a place of chaos and noise. High winds, rivers of lava and churning layers of rock glowed and cracked. It’s from this hot, toxic sea that arose the perfect conditions for life as the surface of the planet divided into sea and land, and gravity’s pull invited the formation of an atmosphere.

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The Rain God, VAULT Festival

by guest critic Joanna Trainor

Charles Mallory Hatfield made it rain – and rain and rain and rain.

This is the little-known story* of a man who went from selling sewing machines to controlling the heavens, told through the eyes of a little boy in Manchester. Hatfield would travel to drought-ridden cities with his secret mixture of chemicals and, most of the time, the weather turned.

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Laika, Unicorn Theatre

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Sami and his mum are preparing for her to go to Mars for years and years and years. Both obsessed with space, Sami’s proud of her but worried that he might never see her again. To help him come to terms with her imminent departure, mum buys him a book about Laika, the first dog to go to space.

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Jane Doe and The Shape of the Pain, Edinburgh Festival Fringe

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Though the fringe is still often gloriously lo-tech, more shows and venues are embracing and exploring the role technology can play in live performance. New Zealand-based Zanetti Productions’ Jane Doe and China Plate’s The Shape of the Pain are powerful, challenging productions that use tech in different ways from each other, but it is essential to both and enhances the productions’ impact.

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Secret Life of Humans, Edinburgh Festival Fringe

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Ava is fascinated by human beings. Not just generally, but in the academic, evolutionary sense. She’s also going through a tough time and needs a break, so she’s on the pull. Jamie’s also after a distraction and the two matched on Tinder, so now, after millions of years of evolution, these two people are having dinner.

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