As You Like It

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Fighting for love: Centre Joe Bannister (Orlando) and Leon Annor (Charles). Photo credit Johan Persson

Theatre: Olivier Theatre, National Theatre
Play: As You Like It
Playwright: William Shakespeare
Director: Polly Findlay

Review by Esha Chaman

William Shakespeare’s pastoral comedy is transported to the digital age in Polly Findlay’s contemporary adaptation, where banishment, sibling rivalry, love and romantic complications drive the cast to take refuge in the Forest of…Furniture.

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Anita and Me

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Bad influence?: Mandeep Dhillon (Mandeep) and Jalleh Alizadeh (Anita). Photo credit Ellie Kurttz

Theatre: Theatre Royal Stratford East
Play: Anita and Me
Writer: Meera Syal
Adapted by: Tanika Gupta
Director: Roxana Silbert

Review by Esha Chaman

Tanika Gupta’s musical adaptation does justice to Meera Syal’s coming-of-age novel and tells the story of a British Asian teenage girl who wants to swap “rice and dhal” for “fish fingers and chips” with comedic ardour and horrific honesty.

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The Silent Striker

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Book: The Silent Striker
Author: Peter Kalu
Publisher: Hope Road Publishing
Price: £6.99

Review by Angela Howell

Marcus is 14 years old and from the local council estate. His school football coach considers him a genius, but in class he is considered a disruptive student. Marcus sees school as a waste of time and feels that his teachers, especially Miss Podborsky (who teaches geography), are out to get him.

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The Whale House and other stories

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Book: The Whale House and other stories
Author: Sharon Millar
Publisher: Peepal Tree Press
Price: £8.99

Review by Reshma Ruia

The Whale House and other stories is a powerful collection of short stories which both entertains and informs. Millar presents a kaleidoscope of Trinidadian life with all its longings and disquiet and probes beneath the surface of what appears to be an idyllic Caribbean island.

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When the feminine meets the masculine: Libby King (Elvis) and Kristen Sieh (Teddy). Photo credit Sue Kessler

Theatre: Jerwood Theatre Downstairs, Royal Court
Play: RoosevElvis
Playwrights: Rachel Chavkin, Libby King, Jake Margolin and Kristen Sieh
Director: Rachel Chavkin

Review by Esha Chaman

RoosevElvis is a mind-bending journey of self-discovery, where introverted Ann finds herself travelling to Graceland with two unlikely companions – Theodore Roosevelt and Elvis Presley.

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Plaques and Tangles

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Praising in the name of donations: Monica Dolan (Megan) and Vanessa Babirye (Nurse). Photo credit Manuel Harlan

Theatre: Jerwood Theatre Upstairs, Royal Court
Play: Plaques and Tangles
Playwright: Nicola Wilson
Director: Lucy Morrison

Review by Irenosen Okojie

There’s been a recent onslaught of plays (and films) about the ageing process. Alzheimer’s appears to be a particularly popular way to explore loss, memory and how we grapple with growing old, which leads us nicely to Nicola Wilson’s play Plaques and Tangles.

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Interview with Natalie Ibu

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Natalie Ibu photo credit: Robert Day

Natalie Ibu is making waves as artistic director at the British African theatre company tiata fahodzi, established 18 years ago by Femi Elufowoju, Jr. Born in Scotland of mixed heritage with a first class honours degree in theatre with arts management, Ibu always knew that theatre was her calling. Despite only being in her early 30s, she has a CV of a seasoned veteran. Her directing credits cover a diverse range of theatres, from the Young Vic and Riverside Studios to The Vineyard Theatre (New York) and Nottingham Playhouse. As well as being a dramaturg, she completed a year’s residency at the Royal Court as a trainee director in 2009, is a former programme manager at the Roundhouse, was creative producer for Only Connect and was the inaugural associate director (Warehouse) for HighTide Festival Productions in 2011/2012.

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Interview with Lucian Msamati

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Photo credit Mark Douet

Actor, director and playwright Lucian Msamati could be described as a polymath. Born in the UK, he was brought up in Zimbabwe where he studied French and Portuguese at university before pursuing his dream of acting by establishing the acclaimed Over the Edge Theatre Company with his friends. Since relocating to the UK he has acted widely in the theatre, such as Fabulation (Tricycle), Death and the King’s Horseman (National) and Clybourne Park (Royal Court). He is also a TV regular with appearances in BBC1’s Luther and The No.1 Ladies’ Detective Agency right through to the acclaimed Game of Thrones, and on the big screen, including The International and Richard II.

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A Wolf in Snakeskin Shoes

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Praising in the name of donations: The cast of A Wolf in Snakeskin Shoes. Photo credit Mark Douet

Theatre: Tricycle Theatre
Play: A Wolf in Snakeskin Shoes
Playwright: Marcus Gardley
Director: Indhu Rubasingham

Review by Joy Francis

French playwright Molière’s 17th century morality tale Tartuffe (The Imposter) has been modernised, refurbished and relocated to Tennessee, USA, in Marcus Gardley’s energetic, farcical and wonderfully provocative A Wolf in Snakeskin Shoes.

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Disney’s The Lion King

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Thinking about the future: Nala (Ava Brennan) and Simba (Jonathan Andrew Hume). Photo Credit Johan Persson

Despite most of my nieces and nephews, along with their parents, having made their merry way to see The Lion King over the years, I had yet to take the plunge. Far from being a sign of avoidance, other shows have competed for and captured my interest with greater success.

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3 1/2 Minutes, Ten Bullets

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Film: 3½ Minutes, Ten Bullets
Director: Marc Silver
Genre: Documentary
Producers: Minette Nelson, Carolyn Hepburn
Distributed by: Dogwoof Films

Review by Awra Tewolde-Berhan

Marc Silver’s gripping documentary 3 ½ Minutes, Ten Bullets, is like a thriller and serves as a painful reminder of how a fleeting moment can destroy a life. In this case, the tragic murder of an African American teenager, 17 year old Jordan Davis, at the hands of a white middle aged man called Michael Dunn, on 23 November 2012.

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