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BRIGHTON FRINGE: Maid of Strong Stuff – Bom-Banes

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Reviewer: Simon Topping Margaret Powell (1907-1984) was in service in the Edwardian era; first as a kitchen maid and then as a cook, until she married out of the work (this was a time when women could only escape such bondage by marriage). In her fifties, she went back to school and not only gained several qualifications but went on ...

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The Worst Little Warehouse in London – Old Joint Stock Theatre, Birmingham

Writers: Lala Barlow and Robbie Smith Director: Sarah Redmond Reviewer: James Garrington As the lights dim we hear, in nature documentary style, that this is a tale of two koalas venturing forth into the world. They find themselves in a strange and distant place, full of excitement for what the future holds – or, more mundanely, it’s an Australian couple ...

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Pictures of Dorian Gray – Stephen Joseph Theatre, Scarborough

Writer: Oscar Wilde Adapted by: Lucy Shaw Director: Tom Littler Set/Lighting: William Reynolds Sound: Matt Eaton Reviewer: Ron Simpson Jermyn Street Theatre’s Pictures of Dorian Gray, premiered at the Stephen Joseph’s McCarthy Theatre, is, without doubt, a bold concept brought to fruition with stylish elegance. What is less certain is how fully it communicates the drama and the narrative of ...

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Venice Preserved – Swan Theatre, Stratford upon Avon

Writer: Thomas Otway Director: Prasanna Puwanarajah Reviewer: Gemma Fincher Political unrest, anarchy, rebellion and corruption meet futuristic ‘80’s cyberpunk in this dystopian re-imagining of Thomas Otway’s restoration thriller. First staged in 1682, this tragedy of disillusionment,unfulfilled expectations and distrust of the establishment yields eerie parallels with today’s political climate and the appetite for a change to the status quo. Set ...

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The Mousetrap – Empire Theatre, Liverpool

Writer: Agatha Christie Director: Gareth Armstrong Reviewer: Jamie Gaskin It is perhaps fitting that in the same year Queen Elizabeth came to the throne that the Queen of Whodunnit’s most famous play started its reign in London’s West End. Agatha Christie’s The Mousetrap has never left the London stage since 1952. Indeed, its genesis has royal connections: It started life as ...

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Paula Varjack: The Cult of K*nzo – The Lowry, Salford

Reviewer: Helen Jones In The Cult of K*nzo, writer and performer Paula Varjack looks at the modern day obsession with designer names and the consumer culture which feeds it.  Her protagonist starts as a four-year old, intrigued by her very well to do Grandmothers smart dresses and expensive perfume, but focuses mainly on her queuing for the launch of the ...

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Russell Maliphant: Silent Lines – The Lowry, Salford

Choreography: Russell Maliphant Reviewer: Peter Jacobs Russell Maliphant Dance Company was established in 1996. In the intervening years, the company have received two Olivier awards, three South Bank Show awards and three Critics’ Circle National Dance awards for best modern choreography and one for best independent company, amongst many other national and international awards and nominations. Russell Maliphant's work is ...

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The Glass Menagerie – Arcola Theatre, London

Writer: Tennessee Williams Director: Femi Elufowoju Jr. Reviewer: Karl O'Doherty Deft touches are woven in with the more powerful straight shots in Femi Elufowoju Jr’s cracking version of the Tennessee Williams old favourite. Williams’ original down-on-their-luck family are in this version African Americans, a shift that feels like it adds a level of grit and poignancy an all-white affair lacks. ...

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