Swarm review – a scathing appraisal of Britain’s political parasites

Camden People’s theatre, LondonDonning an insect costume, the magnetic Liv Ello uses clowning to land a deeply serious point about our timesLiv Ello is the director of Frankie Thompson’s delightful show Catts, so I had high expectations for their solo …

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Panto first-timers prepare to party: ‘I’ll wave that wand with everything I’ve got!’

Jason Manford, Keala Settle, Carrie Hope Fletcher and Chelsea Hall get set for the glitter and gags of festive seasonPanto was my first experience of going to the theatre. At school in south Manchester, there were free tickets for kids from underprivil…

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Good Luck, Studio review – the toddlers’ TV show that goes wrong

Mercury theatre, ColchesterAn uneven new play from Mischief Theatre skews darker than their hit comedies, with jarring tragedy amid the clowningThe Play That Goes Wrong’s Mischief Theatre have taken their spoofs of ham-fisted am-dram to the West End, B…

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Good Luck, Studio review – the toddlers’ TV show that goes wrong

Mercury theatre, ColchesterAn uneven new play from Mischief Theatre skews darker than their hit comedies, with jarring tragedy amid the clowningThe Play That Goes Wrong’s Mischief Theatre have taken their spoofs of ham-fisted am-dram to the West End, B…

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Noises Off review – Frayn’s exquisite farce-within-a-farce finds new humanity

Felicity Kendal, Tracy-Ann Oberman and especially Joseph Millson are comic gifts in this 40th anniversary version that fits our times almost too well Well, here’s a surprise. Michael Frayn’s exquisite farce – now celebrating its 40th anniversary – has …

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Kim Noble: Lullaby for Scavengers review – strange, tender and endlessly funny

Soho theatre, LondonThe notorious comic and performance artist explores loneliness and the human/animal divide in an intricately assembled scrapbook showIt’s taken Kim Noble seven years to make Lullaby for Scavengers. Just as well: I doubt any of us co…

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‘We need an intervention’: five ways to fix the Edinburgh festival fringe

Too pricy, too elitist, just too big? After the criticisms of this year’s event, a panel of festival regulars consider the way forward for Edinburgh’s summer spectacularKaty Koren, co-artistic director, Gilded Balloon Continue reading…

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‘It could have some negative pushback’: has extreme comedian Kim Noble finally gone too far?

In Lullaby for Scavengers, the no-holds-barred performance artist returns to outfox and outrage audiences. He talks about trying to snog his mother, bathing with maggots and being an ‘old white dinosaur’To interview comedians, you don’t usually travel …

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Blues, Jews and Ukrainian ballet: the best theatre, dance and comedy of autumn 2022

Samira Wiley makes her UK stage debut, there’s an urgent counter to antisemitism, plus a fourth King James, refugee dancers and comedic returns Continue reading…

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Emily Wilson review – a portrait of the artist as an X Factor wannabe

Pleasance Courtyard, EdinburghWilson relives her tumultuous turn as a teenage talent show contestant armed with laughter and song, topped with a touching tribute to her plucky younger self‘Why did I? Oh God, why did I?” We can all get embarrassed recal…

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