Chiaroscuro, Bush Theatre

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by Laura Kressly

Beth, Opal, Aisha and Yomi are working-class women of colour. They’re busy with dates, dinner parties, and games of pool at their local, over which they bond, confide and fight. Their stories are punctuated by soulful songs providing further insight into their fears, insecurities and loves. These women could easily be young Londoners today – but Jackie Kay’s gig-theatre show was written in 1986. This relevant, moving production addressing issues of sexuality and identity, and centered on characters that are often left out of theatrical narratives, is a vital and vibrant contribution to contemporary theatre.

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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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She Sells Sea Shells, Edinburgh Festival Fringe

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by Laura Kressly

Mary Anning was a working class fossil hunter from Lyme Regis. She and her dad would sell their finds to the posh, Victorian collectors who wanted to horde artefacts without digging them out of the cliffs themselves. She became known as one of the best fossil hunters in the country, but her discoveries of new dinosaur species and their impact on science were, of course, attributed to wealthy men.  Now, about 200 years later, Mary’s tired of being ignored – so she hijacks a lecture about her work.

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Have I Told You I’m Writing a Play About My Vagina?, Edinburgh Festival Fringe

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by Laura Kressly

Bea wants to get drunk and get laid, as often as possible and with no strings attached, but she has a problem. Whenever anything tries to enter her vagina, it hurts. A lot. It’s like her vagina closes up and throws a tantrum about the probing finger, penis or sex toy, and it’s ruining Bea’s life. In Ella Langley’s tentative but hopeful new play on living with and overcoming Vaginismus, Bea’s vagina is suitably personified and Bea must get Vag to trust her again.

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10 Things I Hate About Taming of the Shrew, Greenwich Theatre

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by Meredith Jones Russell

“When men insist on telling women’s stories for them, not only do they miss the point of telling a story, but they tell it wrong too.”

Armed with a glitzy jacket, a notebook and a whole lot of anger, Gillian English uses William Shakespeare’s Taming of the Shrew and it’s 1999 teen adaption 10 Things I Hate About You to explore gender roles in traditional and modern art and how they shape us as a society.

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Exceptional Promise, Bush Theatre

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by Laura Kressly

1. What is ‘Exceptional Promise’?
a. Another name for a UK Tier 1 visa
b. An interactive game show-slash-performance piece
c. A critique of the cesspit that is London’s housing market
d. All of the above

If you answered ‘D’, then you win! You’re one step closer to getting the keys to your dream house. But first – you need to survive the rest of the rounds and beat your other two opponents, otherwise you’re doomed to dodgy landlords and housemates forever.

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