Closed Lands, VAULT Festival

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By Joanna Trainor

Concertina wire. I’m not sure it’s possible to get LegalAliens’ constant repetition of the definition of concertina wire out of mind. This sweet voice calmly talking about the tiny blades used to cut through material and skin over and over again is haunting. Continue reading

The Last 5 Years, Southwark Playhouse

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By Joanna Trainor

Jamie Wellerstein is the ultimate fuckboi.

You know it’s true, but you always forget it until you’re watching the show. You’re all happy to be his Shiksa Goddess, and swooning over his proposal and then – BAM! “I’m sorry I slept with someone else, you should have paid more attention.” Well no Jamie, that’s not acceptable behaviour, is it?

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Sticky Door, VAULT Festival

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by Joanna Trainor

Disclaimer: Good reviewing practice is not to put yourself into your article – your review is about the show, not the journalist. But I have such an emotional connection to Katie Arnstein’s work, that I struggle to write about her productions as ‘objectively’ as I perhaps should. It’s probably why it’s taken me so long to put pen to paper.

Rhubarb and custard sweets, a ukulele, placards, and a voiceover montage of misogynistic statements that make you oh so angry – all signs point to the final installment of Katie Arnstein’s It’s A Girl! trilogy.

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Atlantic, VAULT Festival

10by Joanna Trainor

I love an illuminated umbrella. All shows could be improved by a light-up umbrella.

Somewhere beyond the sea, Emma waits on the shoreline by the Golden Gate Bridge, and PJ looks out from some of England’s slightly less famous white cliff faces. At face value this is a story about a long-distance relationship and the struggles you face when you’re in one. But more than that it’s about isolation, dependence and the ties we have to other people. There are sections that are a little obscure, and the performance takes a while to warm up, but the underlying theme will always pull you back in.

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Mephisto [A Rhapsody], Gate Theatre

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by Laura Kressly

Aymeric has been working at the Balbek Theatre, in a small town miles away from the nation’s capital, its culture and politics, for five years. He longs for fame, excitement and to leave the relentless monotony of provincial life behind him and will do anything to achieve these goals. Along with his discontent, right-wing sentiment grows across the country. In the capital, the ‘liberal elite’ make great art, drink champagne and argue over how, as state-funded artists, they should respond to the rising fascism – or if they can at all.

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Fame, Peacock Theatre

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by Amy Toledano

“Fame!” – we all know the infamous song. The lyrics, “I’m gonna live forever, I’m gonna learn how to fly, HIGH” are not well known just because of the original 1980 film, but because of the subsequent television series, film remake and musicals that followed. The title song is a good one by all accounts, however this revival of the 1988 musical serves up little else that’s at its level.

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Art Heist, Edinburgh Festival Fringe

By Joanna Trainor

Poltergeist Theatre Company’s Alice Boyd could read you the yellow pages, and it would sound like the most magical book you’ve ever heard.

What is art? Who gets to decide that? Why is it so hard to draw a moustache on your own face? Poltergeist Theatre Company deal with all of life’s big questions in their follow up show to last year’s sell-out smash Lights Over Tesco Car Park. 

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Work Bitch, VAULT Festival

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by Joanna Trainor

Life is what happens to you while you’re busy making other plans.

Jessica Siân opens Work Bitch with an utterly manic laugh. The awful kind of laugh you develop when you have to laugh or you’ll cry. This is a proper tragicomedy at its core. The intelligent writing makes you laugh at these larger than life characters, all played by Siân, and then hits you with the added details – like the expression of the cook, who works every shift he can, when he thinks no one’s watching.

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