Toys are Not for Use

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Review of 'The Magic Toyshop' by Angela Carter, Old Vic, London

'That summer she was 15, Melanie discovered she was made of flesh and bone. 'Angela Carter's 1967 novel opens with the start of the painful and enchanting journey of adolescent self discovery. Brimming with intense symbolism, the dynamic theatre company Shared Experience, with their mix of physical theatre and narration, accomplish a compelling adaptation.

Stark Exposure

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Review of 'The Island' by Athol Fugard, John Kani and Winston Ntshona, Soho Theatre, London

'The Island' is Robben Island, South Africa's high security prison for black opponents during the apartheid era. It was notorious for its harsh conditions and the brutal treatment of political prisoners.

Royal Results in Stratford

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Joan Littlewood's Theatre Royal in Stratford, east London, revolutionised British theatre with shows such as 'Oh What a Lovely War', 'The Hostage' and 'A Taste of Honey'. Peter Gee spoke to the theatre's director, Philip Headley, about continuing the battle to make theatre relevant and vital to working people's lives.

Q. In what way has Joan Littlewood's legacy affected your approach in attracting a working class audience to your theatre?

A. She was totally concerned with social inclusion, except the term hadn't been invented then. She always spoke of the continuous loop between theatre and the community. We draw on ideas, experiences and talents from the community, and create shows and present them back to the community. As the demography of the local community changes, so must the shows presented on stage.

Q. What barriers exist that stop people coming to theatre?

Caught Between Life and Death

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Review of "No Man's Land" by Harold Pinter, Lyttleton Theatre, London

Harold Pinter has a unique distinction - he has two phenomena named after him. The 'Pinteresque' has come to refer to his complex and challenging theatrical style, while a 'Pinterism' is, according to pro-war journalist David Aaronovitch, an ill judged and unjustified criticism of US foreign policy.

So Pinter has made his anti-establishment mark in both theatre and politics. This would make any production of his work worth a look. The current revival of Pinter's 1975 play No Man's Land at the National Theatre comes with other recommendations.


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