Jenny Leow

Skintown

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The spotlight is on the “Troubles” in Northern Ireland once more as Theresa May seeks to shore up her shoddy election performance by allying the ailing Tories to the Democratic Unionist Party.

Ciaran McMenamin’s drug-fuelled joy-ride Skintown is a wild and fantastic odyssey that’s not to be missed.

Redesigning Life

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John Parrington’s engaging and thoughtful book explains the science behind recent rapid advances in genetic engineering that mean it is increasingly possible to enact precise changes at a molecular level.

Genetic engineering tends to evoke images of glow in the dark bunnies, super tomatoes, or for me, the vast, rectangular football player in the novel Red Dwarf who has been engineered to be the exact size of the goal. But genetic engineering has been responsible for medical treatments that are now commonplace.

A Room with a Stew

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“Are there any jokes? No,” says Stewart Lee midway through his new show A Room with a Stew, and he’s telling the truth. There aren’t any jokes as such.

But there is surreal, vivid imagery that emerges often from nowhere as it builds, layer upon layer, through exquisitely tortuous repetition.

References to Brechtian alienation share the bill with a variety of tales of childhood urination.

It’s awkward, self-referential and self-consciously arrogant and, because of rather than despite these traits, it’s brilliant.

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