Albatross, Gate Theatre

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by Laura Kressly

There aren’t many writers who conjure stories the way Isley Lynn can. Her innate instinct for achingly human characters in situations rarely – if ever – seen on stage sets her well apart from most young playwrights. Her oeuvre includes Skin a Cat, a hilarious and necessary story of a young woman navigating dating and sex whilst unable to be vaginally penetrated, and Tether, the journey of a blind woman and her guide training for a marathon. These intimate stories leave a huge impact when set on stage, their echoes long reverberating with her audiences.

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Songs for Nobodies, Wilton’s Music Hall

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by guest critic Kudzanayi Chiwawa

If you’ve not been to Wilton’s, the oldest grand music hall in the world, it’s a wonderful treat. This tucked away venue, is the stage for the European premiere of Songs For Nobodies, written by acclaimed playwright, Joanna Murray-Smith, directed by Simon Phillips, and performed by Bernadette Robinson.

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Glitter Punch, VAULT Festival

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by an anonymous guest critic

Riot Theatre’s Glitter Punch is a knockout of an emotional rollercoaster. Written by Lucy Burke it begs for a longer run at the Vaults. Set in Salford, we quickly become captivated by sixteen-year-old Molly’s (Emily Stott) outlook, interacting with the audience throughout as we see her develop feelings for a boy who she spots outside smoking on her first day of college.

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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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