The Glass Menagerie, Arcola Theatre

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By Laura Kressly

In 1930s St Louis, Missouri, housing laws ensured black people and white people lived in separate neighbourhoods. Racial inequality was rife and the city as a whole, like the rest of the US, was suffering the effects of the Great Depression. The Wingfield family are no different – living in a tenement apartment, Amanda and her grown children, Tom and Laura, struggle to make ends meet. Stress, worry and resentment drives wedges between them, creating a tension stoked by Tennessee William’s exquisite language. In this production directed by Femi Elufowoju Jr, the Wingfields are black, so their dreams and aspirations are all the more devastatingly unreachable when contexualised by the segregation of the day.

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Birthright, Vault Festival

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by Louis Train

Birthright comes out the gate distracted: a sex joke, some meta humour, accents. It stays distracted, too, so at least it’s consistent. By the end of the play, one gets the sense of half a dozen stories and motifs started and abondaned; it interrupts itself.

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My Dad’s Gap Year, Park Theatre

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by Louis Train

“Fuck me, these exotic birds are well shaggable!”

…is actually one of the more enlightened lines in Tom Wright’s new play, My Dad’s Gap Year, under the direction of Rikki Beadle-Blair. Part giddy romp and part failed attempt at progressive theatre, Gap Year’s greatest accomplishment is proving that – solidarity be damned! – LGBT art can be thoughtless, regressive, and ignorant.

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A Hundred Words for Snow, VAULT Festival

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by Laura Kressly

Rory’s taking her dad on his dream trip to the North Pole. The Geography teacher has always wanted to be a proper explorer, and Rory grew up hearing stories about historical adventurers setting out into the great unknown to discover the world.

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Odd Man Out, Hope Theatre

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A middle-aged, gay Welshman contemplates the English class he teaches in Hong Kong. Amongst the students is Windy, the Chinese woman with whom he shares his bed. Utterly smitten with her, he refers to her as his Pocahontas. He then kisses a barbie doll with long black hair and tanned skin.

Pocahontas was a Native American woman kidnapped by the colonising English in the 1600s, forced to marry, then taken to Britain. The same woman bore her husband a child then died, aged 21, after contracting a European illness.

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Catch Me, Underbelly Southbank

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by guest critic Rebecca JS Nice

The Underbelly Festival Southbank is like a mini Edinburgh Festival where visitors cocoon between pop up bars, fake grass, fairy lights and giant flowerpots have a sense of exclusivity, as they wonder through to enjoy the bars as much as the shows. This vibe will stay all summer and I will no doubt be returning to sip Pimm’s in the sun whether I have show tickets or not. But having seen both currently billed shows twice now, in Edinburgh and London, their quality, popularity and longevity cannot be argued.

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