Othello, Unicorn Theatre

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by guest critic Hailey Bachrach

Ignace Cornelissen’s Henry the Fifth, which was at the Unicorn Theatre in 2015, remains one of my favourite versions of that play ever. Setting King Henry’s French wars in a sandbox, Cornelissen simplified without dumbing-down the central themes of Shakespeare’s play.

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Strawberry Starburst, VAULT Festival

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by guest critic Zahid Fayyaz

This is a solo monologue from Kryptonite Theatre Company, a new-ish company putting forward stories from different communities and perspectives not normally put on stage. This particularly story is that of Shez, a working class teenager who loves Starburst and is in the process of getting over her parent’s breakdown. After some harsh words from her mother about her weight, she embarks on a strict exercise and diet regime.

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Trashed, VAULT Festival

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by guest critic Amy Toledano

Trashed is a high energy, thrilling and heartbreaking show that has the audience hooked from beginning to end. David William Byran plays Keith – a rubbish collector from a working class community in the UK. Throughout, Keith is engaging with the audience, asking questions and offering some of his beer, which he drinks continuously throughout the piece.

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Hamilton, Victoria Palace Theatre

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Let’s get this out of the way first – does Hamilton live up to the hype? Yes. It’s very good. Though the revolution in the plot doesn’t influence the dramaturgy, that doesn’t mean it’s not a fantastic show that musically updates the genre and skillfully triggers a spectrum of emotions. It’s simultaneously epic and intimate, staged surprisingly simply with striking, sculptural choreography and utterly engaging throughout.

But this pro-immigration, hip-hop reinvention of the all-American musical about a country gaining independence from a distant, tyrannical overlord resonates rather differently in Brexit Britain than it does in America. Forget the NHS bus – could Hamilton be the new symbol of the Leave campaign?

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The Acid Test, Cockpit Theatre

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Jess, Dana and Ruth are living it up in a London flatshare. Fresh out of uni, they’re drinking and partying like it’s their job and generally loving life. But their blissful bubble is burst when Jess comes home with her dad in tow after her mum kicked him out of the house. As the night wears on and Jim joins in with his daughter and her flatmates’ antics, ugly truths are revealed in each of the four characters and there’s no going back.

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The Black Eye Club, Bread & Roses Theatre

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Zoe’s back at her commuter belt town’s refuge after her husband beat her up again. This time it’s because Palace lost. Last time, it was because she was nagging to much. She jokes about what will bring her here the next time with her new friend Dave, an anxious gay man who escaped through his bathroom window after his partner beat the shit out of him again. Dave’s not allowed in the refuge, but Zoe felt bad and snuck him in.

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Tryst, Tabard Theatre

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George Joseph Smith was a petty thief and con man who preyed on the most vulnerable women he could find. He would win their love, persuade them to elope, then strand them on their honeymoon after cleaning out their bank account. In exchange, these women who were lonely and insecure, would have a wedding night of bliss. He thought this was more than fair.

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