The Emoji Project, Hen & Chickens Theatre

By Diana Miranda

The Emoji Project runs through 14 August, and is live streamed on 15 August.

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Theatre for Two, Stanley Arts

Theatre for Two

by Laura Kressly

In the middle of a dark room, I am ushered into what looks like a largish, stand-alone cupboard. With a spotlight above a single chair facing a perspex sheet covered with a window blind, there is an immediate sense of the audience becoming the performer. Given that the four mini-plays making up this event are semi-improvised character pieces relying on audience interaction, this feeling is apt. As much the playlets are highly theatrical and often disarming, they are also intimate and conversational. In a time where many of us are learning how to just be in the same space as another person, unmediated by a computer screen, Theatre for Two is comforting and familiar as well as challenging what has become normal disconnect from people and the world we live in.

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The Future is Mental, VAULT Festival

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by Dora Bodrogi

The Network Theatre Company has put together a brilliant night of short plays that are certainly entertaining, if slightly alarming about where the world is heading. The Future is Mental gives us an assemblage of six near-future, ‘soft-dystopian’ stories, admittedly inspired by Black Mirror, that makes us take a step back and really rethink our present lifestyles.

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Glass. Kill. Bluebeard. Imp., Royal Court

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by Laura Kressly

A new Caryl Churchill play is a special occasion, but four at once is a treat. Radically different in tone and theme, this collection ranges from pleasantly surreal to shocking and strange. Though they stand alone as short plays, as a whole they take on an array of society’s ills – but the pronounced concepts that Churchill is known for occasionally stale here, despite regular moments of brilliance.

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Pinter Three, Harold Pinter Theatre

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by Meredith Jones Russell

Tamsin Greig steals the show in the star-studded third instalment of the six-month season of Harold Pinter’s short plays.

Pinter Three features 11 plays, allowing director Jamie Lloyd to vary tone, pace and style with shorter, more amusing sketches bookended by two more heavyweight works; Landscape and A Kind of Alaska.

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Pinter One and Pinter Two, Harold Pinter Theatre

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by Gregory Forrest

A whole day of Pinter. “Christ,” my landlord said, “I couldn’t think of anything worse.”

Jamie Lloyd is embarking on an epic project: to stage every single one of the influential
playwright Harold Pinter’s short plays over a six month period, at the theatre which bears his name. Pinter at the Pinter. Pretty neat huh?

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Metamorphoses 2, Waterloo East Theatre

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by Laura Kressly

There are many reasons why the classics are still read and performed, with their enduring relevance one of them. Ovid’s Metamorphoses, a narrative poem containing more than 250 different myths, is a wealth of flexible source material that can easily be updated and applied to modern socio-political landscapes. Here, five different myths are updated by five different playwrights to comment on a range of current topics, from #MeToo to the refugee crisis. Ranging in style and quality, the new writing night is largely well-curated and impactful.

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Bechdel Testing Life, The Bunker

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Women don’t always talk about men.
Women don’t always talk about men.
Women don’t always talk about men.

It bears repeating because it’s often forgotten, ignored or not believed. Popular culture is particularly deaf to the sentiment, and theatre still likes to rely on this inaccurate gender trope. Whilst this has been slowly changing for some time, particularly on the fringe, it’s still a problem.

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The Subterranean Season, VAULT Festival

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by guest critic Jo Trainor

A calcification called Danny Dyer, porn, truffle oil and guitar guns – PLAY Theatre company are back at the VAULT Festival after winning the People’s Choice Award last year. The Subterranean Season comprises of four writer/director teams and ten actors putting on a series of short performances. Although each of the four plays are independent, and different in substance and style, the patchwork production doesn’t feel jarring or disconnected. The energy on stage and the skill of the writers make The Subterranean Season a cohesive performance.

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