We Anchor in Hope, The Bunker

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by Laura Kressly

It’s the last night to have a drink at the Anchor before it’s sold to developers who will turn it into luxury flats or a Pret A Manger. Landlord Kenny, his staff and a couple of locals are celebrating the end of an era by drinking the bar dry, but the more they drink, the more their secrets threaten to ruin the good memories of a local community.

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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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Jade City, The Bunker

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by Laura Kressly

When Sas and Monty were kids, the world was full of possibility and adventure. Now that they’re grown, poverty, loneliness and their pasts have trapped them in Belfast, barely able to leave their flats. Infantilised by unemployment, they stay in and play pretend like they did as children. Whether its as bin men, Cuban revolutionaries or global travellers, The Game lets them ignore the harsh reality of the social and economic systems keeping them down. In Alice Malseed’s play, the past, present and imagined flow into each other like the lads’ days do, but Sas thinks its time they grow up.

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Operation Mincemeat, New Diorama

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By Laura Kressly

Musical theatre excels at turning an otherwise serious subject into an extravaganza of high camp. Though it’s easy to dismiss such approaches as light and frivolous, SpitLip – a new company formed by members from Kill the Beast and Felix Hagen & the Family – tell the true story of a British intelligence operation with plenty of panache and satirical social commentary (and heaps of high camp) in this smashing new show.

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CLASS, Bush Theatre

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by an anonymous guest critic

CLASS, a play from Ireland co-written and directed by Iseult Golden and David Horan, is set around a teacher-parent meeting in a Dublin primary school. The teacher, Mr McAfferty (Will O’Connell), is a seemingly conscientious man who takes his job seriously. He invites the parents of one of his students, nine-year-old Jayden, to discuss his literacy learning difficulties.

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Digging Deep, Vault Festival

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by Laura Kressly

CW: suicide and self-harm

Mossy is only 22 but he’s tired of life. He can’t shake the feeling that there’s nothing more than this, so the best option is to call it a day and kill himself. His only concern is that his mum won’t be able to afford his funeral, so he convinces his reluctant mates to launch a fundraising campaign before he goes. Touching on toxic masculinity, male friendship, euthanasia and voyeuristic media consumption, this new script has some clumsy writing but the themes that propel the action forward to a surprising end smartly support the story of friendship.

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Babylon Beyond Borders, Bush Theatre

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by Laura Kressly

In the ancient city of Babylon, people lived peacefully. They were left to their own devices until, according to a biblical story, they built a tower that reached to the heavens. Then, a vengeful god destroyed it and scattered the citizens around the world bestowing them different languages so they could no longer communicate. For language and peace are power, and power threatens those in charge.

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Opal Fruits and Dangerous Lenses, Vault Festival

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by Laura Kressly

It’s no secret that the social class system in this country has marginalised the working classes, with women pushed to the absolute fringes of society. To the world outside their immediate circle, sometimes no bigger than the street they live on, they are invisible. Solo shows Opal Fruits and Dangerous Lenses, though radically different in style, seek to change that by centering the working class woman’s experiences and demanding attention for those wilfully forgotten.

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