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Singles’ Round-Up

Kanye’s latest album, Jesus is King, has interesting ideas about how to blend hip-hop and gospel but is let down by inconsistent execution and poor lyricism, and is a disappointing return after two years of leaks and teasings. A track that is emblematic of this is ‘Water’, where Kanye raps on themes regarding rebirth and the healing power of faith, and its ability to purify. These are especially relevant given Kanye’s attempt to rebrand and move away from topics like sex and drugs. The production is simple but effective and provides a smooth, solid base for Ant Clemons’ excellent feature. Clemons sings well and is the highlight of the song, but he is let down by lazy lyricism from Kanye. Rather than speaking on his evolution as an artist, he decides to repeat variations of Jesus save us, which marks a concerning decline for the once revolutionary, boundary-pushing artist. Continue reading Singles’ Round-Up

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“A Better Place”

As I stand at the edge of this rooftop, looking down on the place I once considered home, I begin to feel the irreversibility of what I am about to do. There are no second chances where I’m going. It is nearly time now; I am on my last cigarette. Inhale, exhale – like it is my oxygen supply. My lungs burn with each drag and the dizziness in my head is overwhelming, but I can’t bring myself to care. The things we worry about while we are alive just don’t seem as important when you know you are about to die. Smoking Kills. But so does everything: isn’t that the point? Continue reading “A Better Place”

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Review: Find Me by André Aciman

Find Me is not your normal sequel. It does not carry on a single narrative thread, started in Call Me By Your Name, instead it ties together multiple threads from the same fabric that Call Me By Your Name is a part of. (I am assuming here that you have read Call Me By Your Name, or at least seen the film, for without this you will not understand Find Me, nor this review of it.) For the first hundred pages, Elio is scarcely mentioned, Oliver not at all; yet without a doubt, Find Me is heavily predicated on the events of Call Me By Your Name. As such, one waiting to know what happened in the immediate aftermath of the previous book will be sorely disappointed, however if they give the novel the time it needs, they will come to understand the importance of time, and what has happened as time progressed for Elio, Oliver, and Elio’s father Samuel. Continue reading Review: Find Me by André Aciman

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Eco Activism on Campus

Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you’ll recognise the name Extinction Rebellion. Since the beginning of their ‘International Rebellion’ they’ve become renowned for their civil disobedience, unlawful reputation and disruption of cities. Whilst many may not agree with their methods, this kind of radical activism is vital for creating the real change we urgently need to see in policy and legislation. The sad truth is there is only so much we as individuals can do. In becoming vegan, I was able to singlehandedly reduce my individual carbon footprint by up to 73%. Yet, this is not enough when 20 companies are responsible for a third of the carbon emissions of the world. “If we’re not tackling that then we’re not going to get the drastic reductions we need” according to Skye Frewin, XR Exeter University’s group representative. Continue reading Eco Activism on Campus

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Stylish Screen: Inspirational Fashion from TV & Film

Another Halloween has been and gone but our obsession with fancy dress is far from over. And the best part is that you don’t even have to wait until your friend’s birthday or Christmas party to whip-out your best costume anymore – it seems we’re starting to integrate our favourite outfits from popular culture into our everyday wear, with John Lewis reporting last month an increase in sales of Peaky Blinders’ style flat caps, and black jumpsuits, like those worn by Phoebe Waller-Bridge in Fleabag. Continue reading Stylish Screen: Inspirational Fashion from TV & Film

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Exiting Exeter

Upon entering my final year, I have an abundance of apprehensions and anxieties about the prospect of leaving my university experience behind and moving onto something different. I have never been good at accommodating change in my life, I firmly hold onto what I know and what I am comfortable with – there are never meant to be waves in my sea. My third and final year at Exeter is already nearly a third completed; time is simply no one’s friend – it is unreasonable, stubborn, will never slow its tempo, or dawdle to let you take a moment in. Continue reading Exiting Exeter

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Bookstagram: Is There Purpose Behind the Pictures?

Say Instagram, and the first things that comes to mind are the influencers, advertisements and ‘perfect’ body aspirations. Yet, there is a new emerging corner that combines our aesthetically obsessed culture with the art of reading: bookstagram. Bookstagram is a relatively recent phenomenon which refers to accounts creating weird and wonderful displays of books they are reading and enjoying surrounded by an assortment of objects such as candles, feathers and the odd cup of artisan coffee. However, is this new facet of Instagram really worth your time? Continue reading Bookstagram: Is There Purpose Behind the Pictures?

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Should Literary Prizes Privilege Authors Tackling Current Social Issues?

There have never been so many books published and sold as in today’s world. Books are seen as a hobby, or a pastime, something to enjoy and embrace. But as Mario Vargas Llosa reminds us, they are occasionally seen as a dangerous “vehicle of subversive ideas”, and their writers feared as criminals. Sometimes amid the whirlwind narratives of the latest best-seller, readers can forget the power of literature as a political tool. Continue reading Should Literary Prizes Privilege Authors Tackling Current Social Issues?

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The Rise of Astrology: Should We Be So Starry Eyed?

In the past few years, our relationship with astrology has changed drastically. Ever since its resurgence in the 1960s and 70s, horoscopes have rarely been seen outside of magazine columns. However, astrology has undergone a noticeable revival in the past few years. Astrology meme accounts are everywhere, and Tinder bios are rife with quippy one-liners referencing sign compatibility.
Continue reading The Rise of Astrology: Should We Be So Starry Eyed?

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Rich Rewards: The Effect of Private Schooling on Your Future

How much does having attended – or not – private school affect your life at the University of Exeter? The University has been named in the top ten universities in the UK with the lowest state school intake by The Telegraph, with 69.1%. How does this impact building a sense of community at university between students? How do students feel about each other? A quick browse through Exehonestly reveals a sense of annoyance towards private school students; while this is frequently expressed towards their mannerisms, it actually stems from their privilege. Indeed, private schooling provides so much more than state schools usually can; private schools have more funds to spend per student, smaller class sizes (linked to higher chances of success, and understanding of the material), and guide students much more throughout their uni applications. Brochures for these schools also emphasize their “open-mindedness”, and boast about the extracurriculars they offer. Interestingly, students who have actively joined extracurriculars in their time at school – a sports team, for example – are more likely to pursue this once at uni, and subsequently integrate a thriving social scene. It is worth noting sports team memberships are expensive, and it is generally easier for private school students to afford one without worry. Continue reading Rich Rewards: The Effect of Private Schooling on Your Future

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Review: The Lady Vanishes @ Exeter Northcott

Producing giant Bill Kenwright, through the aptly named Thriller Theatre Company, brings us a tour of the stage version of this 1938 classic film by Hitchcock. Roy Marsden directs this cast of big names (lots of people from telly, apparently) who navigate a grey and textured stage designed by Morgan Large.

The story concerns the socialite Iris, a sweet and wide-eyed woman travelling back to England to get married, who befriends Ms Froy, a former governess and music teacher. Ms Froy is the lady who vanishes during the journey and the other passengers all seem to be conspiring against Iris, claiming that the woman was never there. All but Max, a charmer who chooses to believe Iris and helps her uncover the mystery. There is the touch of the international and the historical: Charters and Caldicott discuss the cricket in a quintessentially British manner, Sinor Doppo is an Italian magician, and Nazi soldiers patrol the train. With promises of thriller, espionage, coded messages through song, and a train filled with characters and mystery, I was excited to be taken on this journey. Unfortunately, almost everything fell flat. Continue reading Review: The Lady Vanishes @ Exeter Northcott

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Apathetic Environmentalism: An Epidemic

In recent years, it has become more apparent that society is fatally harming the environment. According to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) we must cut carbon emissions by 45% by 2030 to avoid a climate catastrophe. Despite the mounting evidence, changes in environmental policy and consumerist habits seem reluctant and tentative. Roughly three-quarters of Europeans say they see climate change as a threat, yet less than a third would accept higher taxes on fossil fuels to cut emissions. This inconsistency of rhetoric versus action is apathetic environmentalism; when someone exhibits genuine concern for the environment but makes little to no effort to make any real, fundamental change. The epitome of this was a photo of an overflowing bin uploaded to ExeHonestly after the recent climate strikes. The discrepancy between protesting the government’s handling of the climate crisis and literally littering on the street highlights an inconsistency between rhetoric and action that is becoming increasingly prevalent. So, where does this apathy come from? Continue reading Apathetic Environmentalism: An Epidemic

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Halloween Culture Favourites: ‘How I Met Your Mother’ Halloween specials

I love How I Met Your Mother. I love it so much that I have seen every episode nine times, which means I know pretty much everything about it. Specifically, I know that if there’s one thing How I Met Your Mother does well, it’s holiday episodes. From ‘Slapsgiving’ to ‘How Lily Stole Christmas’, the sitcom is guaranteed to keep its audience entertained at any time of year. At Halloween, the two episodes that stand out are ‘The Slutty Pumpkin’ (season 1, episode 6) and ‘The Slutty Pumpkin Returns’ (season 7, episode 8). Continue reading Halloween Culture Favourites: ‘How I Met Your Mother’ Halloween specials

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Halloween Culture Favourites: ‘It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown’

When the leaves begin to turn brown and crunch under my feet, I know that it is soon pumpkin time. No, not pumpkin carving, pumpkin pie, or pumpkin pales. It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown time. If all the best aspects of Fall were condensed into one 25-minute television special, it would be the Great Pumpkin. The Halloween classic, since its release in 1966, has become synonymous with Halloween, and it’s no wonder why. Based on the comic strips of Charles M. Schulz, Linus spends all of Halloween night sitting in the pumpkin patch with Sally waiting for the Great Pumpkin, the number #2 below Santa, to appear. The rest of the Peanuts gang spends the night trick-or-treating and having fun at a Halloween party, with Lucy asking for extra candy for her “blockhead brother”, and Charlie Brown stating at each door that he “got a rock.” Of course, you can’t forget about Snoopy as the WWI Flying Ace, scouring through the hills of suburbia as if they were the war-torn countryside. Good luck to you if you spend your Halloween night like Linus waiting for the Great Pumpkin, and if you do go trick-or-treating, here’s sending you my best wishes that you yourself don’t get a rock. Continue reading Halloween Culture Favourites: ‘It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown’

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Interview: Joshua “Joe” Keogh from Amber Run

Before Amber Run’s gig at The Lemon Grove, I chatted to the band’s lead singer Joshua “Joe” Keogh. With the support act’s sound check playing faintly in the background, we discussed everything from their new album Philophobia, to their inspiration, and the sometimes crazy responses of their fans.

So, the new album’s just come out, I thought I’d start by asking you a couple questions about that. How are you finding the initial response to it?

I think it’s been good. [Although] I don’t actually read reviews because, for the first record and the second record, I definitely did and I fell into that trap of [seeing that] they’re all great and then you see the one that says you’re terrible and [that affects you]. I’ve started to realise, for my own sanity, just not to read any and to know that what you did was the best you could do in that moment. So, I believe it’s going well but I couldn’t tell you for certain. Continue reading Interview: Joshua “Joe” Keogh from Amber Run

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Review: Amber Run @ The Lemon Grove

Arriving at the Lemon Grove just before the doors opened, I was a little surprised to see a relatively large queue. Whilst Amber Run’s lively sounds have, undeniably, brought them success, they are perhaps still on the fringes of mainstream indie and are yet to enter the realm of such names as The Arctic Monkeys or The 1975. But it seems Amber Run have some particularly devoted fans, as would become more apparent as the evening went on. Continue reading Review: Amber Run @ The Lemon Grove

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Review: Olafur Eliasson’s ‘In Real Life’ @ Tate Modern

The Tate Modern’s exhibition, In Real Life showcases Olafur Eliasson’s work at a scale that is truly breath-taking. This particularly immersive exhibition places the spectator at the centre of the art itself. Eliasson is a Danish-Icelandic artist and this exhibition offers 40 of his works from 1990 to today. In Real Life features his sculptures, immersive installations, photography, and painting. Eliasson’s art is often inspired by his time spent in Iceland and is predisposed to concern elemental forces of nature and investigate human perception and our collective ability to sense the world around us. His installation pieces are abstract and the message behind his art can seem ambiguous. Therefore, the reception of his work is highly subjective. Continue reading Review: Olafur Eliasson’s ‘In Real Life’ @ Tate Modern

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The Bar Review: Pursuit of Hoppiness

At a first glance Pursuit of Hoppiness could seem a little sterile and cold, with simple wooden high tables and industrially designed barstools. Yet this cool simplicity is warmed into more of a pub vibe by the plethora of beer mats edging the walls as if in place of moulded plaster cornicing. The décor encapsulates the intersection present in the drinks – at once a trendy craft beer and wine bar, yet also a relaxing pub space with cushioned benches and time to chat. Continue reading The Bar Review: Pursuit of Hoppiness

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Halloween Culture Favourites: Review of Hannibal

Ever wondered what brain sashimi tastes like? Yeah, me neither, but Doctor Hannibal Lecter could probably tell you. Yes, that’s right, the legendary gastronomical enthusiast, Hannibal the Cannibal. This three-season show, while not strictly Halloween related, is a bubbling cauldron of aestheticism, philosophy and sensual horror. Set before Lecter’s imprisonment as shown in the movie, Silence of the Lambs, Bryan Fuller reimagines Thomas Harris’ novel using innovative, visual delights which leave you disturbed and often (somewhat worryingly) very hungry. Charismatic, charming, the good Doctor is sure to draw you in with the subtle wit and humour Fuller wields so delicately in a show brimming with intelligent dialogue. Perhaps most daring, however, is Fuller’s choice to reimagine Lecter’s relationship with Special Agent Will Graham as a bond founded on mutual understanding and erotic attraction. The result is one of the most unconventional love stories of the 21stcentury. So, if you’re a fan of horror, strategy and, of course, an array of extremely sexy suits, why not try Hannibal this Halloween? He promises not to bite! Continue reading Halloween Culture Favourites: Review of Hannibal

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Review: Clare Hollingworth and the Scoop of The Century @Exeter Phoenix

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Important, funny and playful entertainment for the whole family.

To mark 80 years since the start of WW2, PaddleBoat Theatre Company, an Exeter-based group of devising performers working with children in schools, are touring a production focusing on the often forgotten Clare Hollingworth. She was the first person to report from Poland that the German tanks were at the border, ready to invade. Her ‘scoop’, uncredited mind you, became front page news all over the UK. In this hour-long, interactive and high-energy show, the company displays great understanding of the forms they present. Continue reading Review: Clare Hollingworth and the Scoop of The Century @Exeter Phoenix

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Is the Face of Theatre Truly Changing?

Sustainability means eco-friendly, right? Lately, it seems that those words have become interchangeable. So, when thinking about sustainability in the theatre world we know that if theatre bars stop using plastic cups and advertisers make recyclable programmes, the industry is sustainable enough to stay afloat. In reality, sustainability in theatre is not limited to greenifying its spaces. It needs to achieve what the Theatre Trust calls ‘the triple bottom line’, meaning environmental, social, and economic sustainability. However, recently the theatre spotlight has illuminated a significant problem; that this art form no longer has a sustainable audience. Continue reading Is the Face of Theatre Truly Changing?

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Review: Dr Dracula @ Knightshayes, Tiverton

Blood is life. Yet, with it flowing unseen beneath our skin we often tend to forget its importance. Four of Swords’ Dr Dracula, written by co-artistic director Philip Kingslan-John, forcefully reminds us of its magnitude in a piece of promenade theatre which intersects the history of blood diseases with cultural myths of the vampire. Drawing on the research of Dr Luke Pilling (Exeter University Medical School) and Professor Nick Groom (Exeter University English Department), Dr Dracula exemplifies how the arts can engage with science to produce incredibly compelling and thought-provoking theatre. Continue reading Review: Dr Dracula @ Knightshayes, Tiverton

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Review: A Midsummer Night’s Dream @ National Theatre Live

“I have had a most rare vision.” This line, spoken by Bottom at the beginning of Act 4 of Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream, goes a long way in describing the experience of viewing the Bridge Theatre’s production of the famous play. Rare because I’ve never before seen Puck crowd-surf; a vision because the whole theatre seemed to transform into a forest in which fairies dangled from the trees, imbuing the space with the feeling of real magic occurring.
Continue reading Review: A Midsummer Night’s Dream @ National Theatre Live

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Dear White People by Lumba Phiri

Dear white people,

I’d like to go home now. I have seen the way that you look at me. I have heard the things say, I have lived amongst you afraid. You have worn me down, you have torn down my boarders, weakened my resolve, finished my tears. You have said your peace, spoken your truths, forced me from my house. You say I have germs, say you cannot touch me for fear you will be infected, you say I am unruly. You shout I am primitive. You, who came into my home uninvited, who stole my things, dragged my family from their chairs and made them kneel. You, who dug up my diamonds and loaded them onto your ships, who spat on me and took my food. Continue reading Dear White People by Lumba Phiri

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Romeo A Juliet @ Exeter Northcott

Ballet Cymru, led by artistic director Darius James (OBE), claims to do things a bit differently. If we are to judge by this revival tour of their 2013 ballet Romeo a Juliet, choreographed by him and assistant artistic director Amy Doughty, that statement is indeed true. I applaud the moves towards inclusivity, which feel genuine and never tokenistic. To have a female dancer portraying Benvolio and Friar Lawrence, as well as a wheelchair-using dancer (Joe Powell-Main) in ballet are mention-worthy. It would have been wonderful to see Powell-Main featured even more prominently, but this inclusion is definitely the move in the right direction for ballet and dance in general. Continue reading Romeo A Juliet @ Exeter Northcott

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Waste Not, Want Not by Tumi Rachel Adebimpe

Youth, they say, is wasted on the young.
So how about a generation that will prove them wrong?
A generation not fooled into thinking that alcohol, sex, and the internet are the pinnacles of their existence;
Not even, dare I say, deceived into believing that their worth and future is found in securing a graduate job.
Where is the generation that will realise that this youthful vigour is not forever, and will instead channel it into bettering the world and themselves?
The generation who will value eternity more than temporary pleasures?
The generation who will value time as a precious commodity, waste it not on discontent, and say “YOLO” not as an excuse for foolishness, but a somber reminder of the importance of stewarding time well.
Is this generation confined within the parameters of wishful thinking, or is it already here?
Continue reading Waste Not, Want Not by Tumi Rachel Adebimpe

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Review: The Lumineers III

The Lumineers’ third album III, is the folk-rock band’s most ambitious project yet. Through music and visuals, it traces the narrative of three generations of the fictional Sparks family and its struggles with drug abuse and alcoholism. III is also a deeply personal work, as the characters in the album are based in part on members of lead vocalist Wesley Schultz’s own family. The album is enhanced by a short film composed of ten music videos depicting the Sparks family’s story. The film is dark and graphically violent; Wesley’s vocals, accompanied by sparse piano and guitar are at turns angry and melancholic. This is an album that is unrelenting in its heartbreak and at times blindly focused on narrative. Continue reading Review: The Lumineers III

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Your “Body Count” Doesn’t Define You

I was recently chatting to some guy I vaguely knew through mutual friends and social media – one of those very casual, getting-to-know-each-other, testing-the-waters kind of talks. “How are you finding your course?” “Are you up to anything fun this week?” Stuff like that. Then, out of nowhere, he asks how many people I’ve slept with. The conversation literally went something like: Continue reading Your “Body Count” Doesn’t Define You

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Review: IT Chapter Two

To anyone that knows me, it would be very surprising to hear that I was planning on watching a horror film, let alone heading to the cinema on the very day of IT Chapter 2’s release. It was one thing to watch the first film from the comfort of my own sofa in broad daylight, but very much another to head to a late showing of the sequel in the cinema! Yet there I was. Continue reading Review: IT Chapter Two

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Review: “The Secret Commonwealth” by Philip Pullman

In The Secret Commonwealth, everything has gone topsy turvy. There is constant upheaval, both in the plot and in Pullman’s world which we thought we knew. Whilst La Belle Sauvagereally ought to have been reduced to a chapter in this book, The Secret Commonwealth is a definite return to Lyra’s world. Continue reading Review: “The Secret Commonwealth” by Philip Pullman

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Three Female Screenwriters to Watch 

Phoebe Waller-Bridge’s recent success at the Emmys was testament to the power of female-written stories – we laughed and cried as Fleabag navigated her way through the world, often with devastatingly funny or heart-breaking results. But who else can we turn to for shows and films that engage us so powerfully? Here are 3 other women blazing a trail in screenwriting. 
Continue reading Three Female Screenwriters to Watch 

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Review: Bleak House@Exeter Northcott

Atmospheric, theatrical, dirty and playful. Artaud and Brecht as a way to explore this episodic novel.

A dark and challenging night of theatre. If that’s what you like, you will be a fan of David Glass Ensemble’s production of Bleak House. What they do, they do very well.

The company of actors in white face paint with exaggerated facial features emerge around the audience, inciting gentle participation and thrusting the story right in our faces. It is expressionistic, visceral and self-aware. Scenes gel into one another, actors transform into different characters in front of our eyes, and the set of two-story scaffolding with removable wooden slabs and vertical steps literally frames the narrative. The whole stage is placed onto a layer of dirt and the costumes indicate the worn-out feel so vividly presented in Charles Dickens’ novel. Continue reading Review: Bleak House@Exeter Northcott

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The Life Chronicles: “The Therapist’s Wife”

He sculpts characters out of them. The people who dig money out their pockets to sit on the sofa opposite and spill out the contents of their tiny minds. Listening to expansive life stories. The he-said, she-said of adult life. Branches spilling out like tributaries, he gets lost in a spiral for an hour before the timer goes off so he wraps it up and stuffs the fresh narrative in a file for next week. Continue reading The Life Chronicles: “The Therapist’s Wife”

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Review: Thunder Road @ Exeter Phoenix

Two Friends. Voluntary First Aid service. A desire to be of use which has come about from a dissatisfaction with the real world. Stand-up comedy, narrative storytelling, influence from both real life and a road trip tragic comedy. This show has all of these elements, often joining together ideas which would initially seem difficult to connect. It is a testament to the skills and experience of its creative team. Continue reading Review: Thunder Road @ Exeter Phoenix