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Theatre News

November Top Picks from London's Off West End

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A comfy seat in a warm theatre is a more attractive prospect than ever now that the clocks have gone back and the nights are drawing in. A quick glance down the list of shows recently reviewed by WOS will leave you in no doubt as to the quality of material out there this autumn, and November looks set to continue the trend, with a particular emphasis on topical and timely work. Keep reading for the latest installment of our indispensable guide to the London fringe over the next month.

We start with a play that’s not really a play, the interactive theatre experience, A Small Town Anywhere, which runs at the BAC until 7 November. Email the local historian before you go and be assigned a character, then work with other audience members on the night in this gripping exploration of community relations.

Next up is Motherland at the Tristan Bates Theatre (until 7 November), a verbatim drama about those left behind when their loved ones go to war. This ensemble piece uses emotive material to examine the extraordinary strength of heart and mind found in the mothers, wives and daughters of those lost in combat.

A happy coincidence sees Hampstead Theatre and Theatre Royal, Stratford East each hosting a brilliantly received play that focuses on the British Asian experience. What Fatima Did… , which runs at Hampstead until 7 November, looks at a young Muslim woman’s decision to wear the hijab, while The Great Extension at Theatre Royal, Stratford East (until 14 November), takes a humorous approach towards British and Asian attitudes.

Still keeping with our theme of topical theatre is Bedbound at the Lion and Unicorn, a deeply disturbing play about a troubled father/daughter relationship (until 22 November). Playwright Enda Walsh, whose previous works include Hunger and The Walworth Farce, builds the pressure in this small theatre to the point of claustrophobia with dialogue that is both thrilling and poetic.

And finally, internationally renowned playwright, Edward Bond, has a new play making its premiere with just four performances at the Oval House. A Window, which deals with how to maintain our humanity in an inhuman world, is Bond’s seventh play to be commissioned by Big Brum, the company producing the show. It runs from 11 to 14 November, with a Q&A with the dramatist following the show on 11 November.


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