THE FATHER at the Ustinov, Bath

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“. . . To the final, wrenching, reversal of the roles of father/daughter and the ultimately unbearable last plea in the arms of his nurse this is a magnificent performance (I weep now at its recall). If Mr. Cranham wants to play Lear this is his calling card . . . The Ustinov continues to produce theatre, which by any standard is of the highest order and in this gem of a play has dealt a full hand of relevant, entertaining and moving. “

STRICTLY BALTI at the Brewery, Bristol

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“. . . Against the current hysterical political debate about immigration, Saikat’s piece serves as a heart-felt reminder that we need to ask ourselves what it means to be ‘made in Britain’. By revealing his life’s journey so intimately, he leaves us asking ourselves questions of our own. . . Directed by Sally Cookson, Strictly Balti is further proof that the Travelling Light Theatre Company can deliver potent new voices. Recommended.

BIRD at the Door, Birmingham Rep

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” . . . Amaka Okafor is dynamic and effective as the titular character, full of vim and vigour. She is adept at transforming teenage bravado into tenderness, particularly as the show progresses and she settles into the role. It is a mercurial performance, one in which she does wonderful things with material that perhaps isn’t as strong as she is. . . Bird is a story worth telling, and worth watching. Lomas and Okafor are both ones to watch.”

BROKEN WINDOWS at the Wardrobe Theatre, Bristol

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I once heard that reviews at the Wardrobe could only ever attract a maximum of three stars. Well, here are four for a change! Caitlin Ince is a very engaging actress with huge potential to make a name for herself. She also has some great ideas, and this production should be offered a run. Tobacco Factory, Everyman Theatre, Theatre Royal, what are you waiting for? The Wardrobe has acted as star-maker, seize the moment to add to the trajectory.

SHERLOCK HOLMES at the Old Joint Stock, Birmingham

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“. . .The real delight in this production is the audience interaction and the improvisation, although it is easy to see that without a willing audience to participate in this enforced interaction his show could be somewhat of a complete flop. The script does lose some momentum towards the later part of the evening but the improvisation and comedy is sharp and keeps us chuckling throughout the performance. . . This is something you won’t see the likes of everyday, not for those who don’t enjoy a little audience interaction, but rip-roaring fun if you. . . “

Mark Thomas CUCKOOED at the North Wall, Oxford

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“. . . Cuckooed opens with Mark Thomas saying, “I’m a very good liar, but everything I’m telling you today is the truth.” He then plays with us a bit, adding “apart from a bit you’ll hear later involving the number 12.” Issues of trust are at the crux of this show – trust is the basis for relationships, for politics, for civilisation itself. . . Thomas is a brilliant performer – he’s quick, he’s witty, he’s angry. Sometimes his brain, and mouth, seems to work so fast that it’s hard to keep up, but it’s exhilarating trying to.”