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Custody – Ovalhouse, London

Creator: Urban Wolf Writer: Tom Wainwright Director: Gbemisola Ikumelo Reviewer: Deborah Klayman When a young black man dies in custody, the impact ripples through his family and community. Inspired by real life experiences of creator Urban Wolf (a.k.a. Urbain Hayo), and written by veteran playwright Tom Wainwright, Custody is a searing examination of institutional racism, which is simultaneously eye-opening and ...

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The Life – Southwark Playhouse

Music: Cy Coleman Lyrics: Ira Gasman Book: David Newman, Ira Gasman and Cy Coleman (revised by Michael Blakemore) Director: Michael Blakemore Reviewer: Karl O'Doherty During the past week someone on Twitter wondered in awe at just how much the writer Douglas Adams managed to fit into the Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy. At around 100 pages it’s a dense, intelligent, ...

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The Mutant Man – The Space, London

Writer: Christopher Bryant Director: Heather Fairbairn Reviewer: Maryam Philpott Gender neutral characters are increasingly recognised in popular culture. Recently the Etcetera Theatre hosted the play Boy Stroke Girl, while one of the analysts in season two of Billions identifies as non-binary, so Christopher Bryant’s new play The Mutant Man showing at The Space feels very timely. What unites the characters ...

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Offside – Clapham Omnibus, London

Writer: Sabrina Mahfouz and Hollie McNish Director: Caroline Bryant Reviewer: Deborah Klayman Historically described as “unsuitable”, and more recently as making the FA “uncomfortable”, women’s football continues to provoke a surprising amount of consternation. In this new play about women’s contribution to and experience of the beautiful game, Sabrina Mahfouz and Hollie McNish have cleverly interwoven the modern challenges facing ...

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Chinglish – Park Theatre, London

Writer: David Henry Hwang Director: Andrew Keates Reviewer: Stephen Bates Another play about China, another word mash title. Lucy Kirkwood's 2013 hit, Chimerica, examined American perceptions of recent Chinese history and now David Henry Hwang's Chinglish, first seen in New York, jumps forward to the present day and dips into the mucky waters of East-West trade amid the new world ...

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The Wipers Times – Arts Theatre, London

Writers: Ian Hislop and Nick Newman Director: Caroline Leslie Reviewer: Maryam Philpott When we think of the First World War, the casualties, the shelling and the mud, it is the pity of it that almost always springs to mind. Rarely do we think about the humour, the humanity of the men trying to find a lighter way through to the end. ...

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Four Thieves’ Vinegar – Baron’s Court Theatre, London

Writer: Christine Foster Director: Adam Bambrough Reviewer: Maryam Philpott Science and superstition have long been seen as opposite ends of the spectrum and, since the Enlightenment, belief in the tried and tested certainties of science have largely won out. But not entirely as centuries-old superstitions still exist largely because human nature doesn’t change – the fear of death in particular ...

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The Men Who March Away – St Anne’s, Limehouse, London

Books, Lyrics and Music: Mike Batt Reviewer: Maryam Philpott While commemoration activity for the First World War focuses primarily on sacrifice and loss, it’s easy to forget that, for the civilians who lived through it and the men who came home, 1918 was never the end of their story. Not only had war had changed them, but veterans returned to ...

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