Chekhov’s First Play, Battersea Arts Centre

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By Laura Kressly

In Chekhov’s first play, there is a gun, discussion of property, longing for the past and idly passing time with friends and family. There’s also a takeaway delivery driver, a flaming wrecking ball and people in their pants.

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Love Letters from Blackpool & My Kind of Michael, Edinburgh Festival Fringe

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by guest critic Rebecca JS Nice

Four years ago, Ruth Cockburn pulled me off the street from the misery of the rain and the festival blues and into the bottom of a tapas restaurant. Cockburn was glowing amidst the bright yellow and blues of the slightly odd venue typical of the fringe festival and she manged to charm an audience more intent on sheltering from the rain than anything else. She became one of my magical fringe finds who touch your heart by chance.

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And Tell Sad Stories of the Death of Queens, King’s Head Theatre

by guest critic Greg Forrest

Trans drag queen Candy Delaney (Luke Mullins) is about to turn thirty-five, with three properties in New Orleans, a successful interior decorating business, and a leak in her heart. Looking to leave this little empire to someone, Candy picks up a “straight” sailor in a gay bar (George Fletcher), and makes a tentative offer.

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A Little Hero, White Bear Theatre

by guest critic Meredith Jones Russell

A devastating and often surreal critique of a state’s oppression of a minority, with a strictly limited dissemination in the country it was written in, A Little Hero is a brave first play for young company DoneDid. Its production at the White Bear Theatre in Kennington doesn’t always quite get it right, but makes a worthy and powerful attempt.

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With Child, Soho Theatre

by guest critic Maeve Campbell

Clare Pointing’s With Child isn’t actually about pregnancy. Facing a show that’s billed as six ‘talking heads’ style monologues delivered by six pregnant characters feels dauntingly alienating when you only know or care a little about trimesters or nursing plans. But thankfully, none of these themes are focused too heavily upon in Pointing’s perceptive, nuanced one woman show.

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Shit-Faced Shakespeare: Hamlet, Edinburgh Festival Fringe

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by guest critic and photographer Esther Moorton

To see or not to see? That is the question.

But this is a hilarious take on Shakespeare’s famous Hamlet, but not as you or I know it.

In these long-running, established shows, one of the main actors is plied with alcohol pre-performance and throughout the show audience members have the authority to request more drinks for the actor.

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