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McQueen

I basically know about as much about fashion as I do about quantum physics, and this maddeningly opaque biographical drama about the late Lee Alexander McQueen has done nothing to change that.

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Haymarket Theatre Royal, Soho Until Saturday November 7 2015

The Wanton Sublime / The Medium

As part of Grimeborn Opera Festival, Inside Intelligence presents a double-bill of contrasting short operas linked by a pair of compelling performances from American mezzo-soprano Hai-Ting Chinn. First up is ‘The Medium’ (1981), a 40-minute tour de force for solo voice by Peter Maxwell Davies. Setting the composer’s own libretto, the monodrama calls for increasing levels of intensity as a fortune-telling clairvoyant comically reads palms before setting off on a literally shocking confessional that ends with convulsive therapy.

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Arcola Theatre, Kingsland Saturday August 29 2015

My Eyes Went Dark

Matthew Wilkinson’s thrilling new play is about a grieving man, suffering a deep, awful trauma. As a visceral, realistic exploration of whether a victim can and should forgive, it’s practically Greek on the tragedy scale. Nikolai Koslov is an architect from Ossetia in Russia whose two children and wife have been killed in a plane crash. He calls it a crime, but everyone around him calls it an accident.

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Finborough Theatre, West Brompton Until Saturday September 19 2015

Thoroughly Modern Millie

Matthew Iliffe’s production of this 2002 musical about the roaring ‘20s offers a burst of sleek hair bobs, jazzy steps and swinging flapper dresses. The staging, dancing and costumes are enough to make you want to do a spontaneous Charleston. The plot and songs, however, won’t leave you with quite the same spring in your step.

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Landor Theatre, Stockwell Until Sunday September 13 2015

Our Country's Good

The wonderfully-named playwright Timberlake Wertenbaker has tightened her grip on the annals of history with this, the second major revival in two years for her classic 1988 drama about  justice and redemption at the founding of Australia.And good for her, but if you caught Out of Joint’s production at the St James a couple of years back I’m not sure you need to come running out to see Nadia Fall’s new one for the NT.

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National Theatre, South Bank Friday September 4 2015 - Saturday October 17 2015

Our House

‘Our House’ is like being sixteen again. Hormones are rampant, emotions are rocketing, energy levels are endless – and nothing makes a lot of sense. Underpinned by a cracking soundtrack from ska band Madness, ‘Our House’ won the Olivier award for best new musical in 2003. It won’t break your heart, but it’s still a head-banging and fist-pumping delight.Steven France heads up a ridiculously energetic ensemble cast, of which director Michael Burgen should be heartily proud.

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Union Theatre, Southwark Until Saturday September 12 2015

Hamlet

As Shakespeare probably wouldn’t have put it, there’s been a right load of old bollocks written about Lyndsey Turner’s production of ‘Hamlet’

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Barbican Centre, Barbican Until Saturday October 31 2015

Lady Anna: All At Sea

Anthony Trollope, author of the ‘Chronicles of Barsetshire’ and distant ancestor of Joanna, was a Victorian novelist widely acknowledged as ‘pretty good’.

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Park Theatre, Finsbury Park Until Saturday September 19 2015

Black Spartacus

The Black Spartacus of the title is Toussaint L’Ouverture, also known as the Black Napoleon.

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Courtyard Theatre, Shoreditch Until Sunday September 13 2015

Leonce and Lena

Though he’s best known for dramatic fragment ‘Woyzeck’ (the source material for Punchdrunk’s epic immersive piece ‘The Drowned Man’), playwright Georg Büchner also wrote some other plays that weren’t as good.

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Jack Studio Theatre, Honor Oak Park Saturday August 29 2015

Black Spartacus

The Black Spartacus of the title is Toussaint L’Ouverture, also known as the Black Napoleon. As you might’ve guessed, he was quite the leader. At the end of the 18th century, L’Ouverture led a slave revolt and helped transform the West Indian island of Saint Domingue into the world’s first black republic – Haiti.

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Courtyard Theatre, Shoreditch Until Sunday September 13 2015

Leonce and Lena

Though he’s best known for dramatic fragment ‘Woyzeck’ (the source material for Punchdrunk’s epic immersive piece ‘The Drowned Man’), playwright Georg Büchner also wrote some other plays that weren’t as good. Plays like ‘Leonce and Lena’, an overly basic comedy with a one-dimensional subtext.

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Jack Studio Theatre, Honor Oak Park Saturday August 29 2015

Lady Anna: All At Sea

Anthony Trollope, author of the ‘Chronicles of Barsetshire’ and distant ancestor of Joanna, was a Victorian novelist widely acknowledged as ‘pretty good’. ‘Lady Anna’ is one of his lesser-known novels and it’s widely acknowledged to be pretty bad. The stage version certainly is: this melodramatic mess is terrible.Commissioned to adapt it by the Trollope Society, writer Craig Baxter has done his best, but this feels like a vanity project.

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Park Theatre, Finsbury Park Until Saturday September 19 2015

Women of Troy

Gods & Monsters deliver a satisfactory dollop of comedy and tragedy at the Scoop this summer with double-bill 'Captain Show-Off!' and 'Women of Troy'. As every child knows the sweet part of any meal is the best bit and here it's served up first. Adapted from the Roman comedies of Plautus, 'Captain Show-Off!' is a silly child-friendly romp about mistaken identities in which estranged twin Roman brothers – one meek, one arrogant - go in search of one another.

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The Scoop, London Bridge Until Sunday August 30 2015

The Playboy of the Western World

There’s a great joke and a whole lot of human truth at the heart of JM Synge’s tragicomic classic, set on the west coast of Ireland in the early 1900s. A stranger stumbles into a rural pub, claiming to have murdered his father. Soon the otherwise mediocre young man has acquired celebrity status and Heathcliff-esque sex appeal among the locals – a strict Christian community in whose lyrical peasant language pagan passions swirl.

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Southwark Playhouse, Elephant and Castle Saturday August 29 2015

1984

Critics' choice

'1984' returns to the West End from June 2015. This review is of the show's 2014 run. Headlong’s adaptation of George Orwell’s ‘Nineteen Eighty-Four’ is such a sense-overloadingly visceral experience that it was only the second time around, as it transfers to the West End, that I realised quite how political it was.

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Playhouse Theatre, Charing Cross Until Saturday September 5 2015

Bend It Like Beckham

Critics' choice

Like the England men's team at their very best, ‘Bend It Like Beckham’ – the West End’s latest musical adaptation of a hit Britflick – is about 50 percent nervously wondering where this is all going, and 50 percent pure euphoria. And that’ll do me.Moans first: it starts slowly, and the songs are so-so. Composer Howard Goodall is revered in musical nerd circles for his skill and subtlety, but the man doesn’t do catchy.

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Phoenix Theatre, Covent Garden Until Saturday February 20 2016

Bugsy Malone

Critics' choice

While it is a truth universally acknowledged that anybody who doesn’t like ‘Bugsy Malone’ is a dangerous weirdo who needs to be silenced (or at least splurged to buggery), you can also see why creator Alan Parker has mostly refused to reciprocate the love for his 1976 kiddie-gangster musical film by allowing professional stage productions.

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Lyric Hammersmith, Hammersmith Until Saturday September 5 2015

We’re Gonna Die

Critics' choice

New York playwright and singer Young Jean Lee presents the London premiere of her pop cabaret-cum theatre show ‘We’re Gonna Die’. Lee performs monologues as well as sings with her band Future Wife, having also written the piece, which is about the inevitablity of death. David Byrne, who appears on the recorded version, delivers guest vocals as the play spins between monologues and surprisingly uplifting and beautifully melodic songs performed by Lee’s band Future Wife. Crushing existential dread never sounded this euphoric. Part of David Byrne’s Meltdown festival

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Queen Elizabeth Hall, South Bank Until Sunday August 30 2015
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