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In My Good Books: ‘The Heart’s Invisible Furies’ by John Boyne

The Heart’s Invisible Furies is a captivating novel which immerses the reader into the judgemental Catholic society of Ireland in the 20th century. This novel is certainly one of my top reads of 2018. It follows the life of Cyril Avery as he combats societal prejudice, the law and ostracization. Boyne’s novel is at times tear-jerking, as it explores Ireland’s dismissal and degradation of gay men, however the novel is equally comical as Boyne creates caricatures of strict Catholics and mocks the hypocrisy of politicians. Fundamentally, The Heart’s Invisible Furies captures the life of a young man as he searches for acceptance and love in the midst of societal disapproval and abuse.

Continue reading In My Good Books: ‘The Heart’s Invisible Furies’ by John Boyne

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Review: Shotgun Theatre’s Bonnie & Clyde @ Exeter Phoenix

Dramatic, sexy and thrilling, Shotgun Theatre brings to the stage of Exeter Phoenix a production about the iconic criminal duo that captured America’s hearts in the 30s. Bonnie Elizabeth Parker and Clyde Chestnut Barrow start off as young teens full of ambitions and craving for fame and admiration. Trapped in America’s Great Depression, the two fell in love as young adults and turned to stealing and killing to achieve their dreams. Continue reading Review: Shotgun Theatre’s Bonnie & Clyde @ Exeter Phoenix

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Preview: EUTCo’s Lord of the Flies

Returning back to Northcott, the Exeter University Theatre Company present their latest show ‘Lord of the Flies’. Following the Nobel Prize winning novelist William Golding’s 1954 , the show runs across four nights. This literary classic turned stage performance which tackles issues of morality, immorality, rationality head on is perfect for both dedicated Golding fans and first time viewers alike. A theatre production not to be missed, make a change and support our students this new year in the best theatre in Exeter. Continue reading Preview: EUTCo’s Lord of the Flies

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Interview: Laura Jackson, Founder of Januhairy

Scrolling through your newsfeed over the last two weeks, you’ll probably have seen a bit more hair than usual. Western beauty standards mean that our Instagrams are usually full of plucked brows, bare bikini lines and silky, smooth legs, but this January, Exeter Uni Student, Laura Jackson, is seeking to change that with her campaign Januhairy. I had a chat with Laura about Januhairy, which encourages women to grow out all their body hair for the month of January in support of the charity Body Gossip.  Continue reading Interview: Laura Jackson, Founder of Januhairy

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Review: Summer and Smoke @ Exeter Phoenix

My expectations of Dicebox’s production of Summer and Smoke by Tennessee Williams were high as it is renowned as a shiveringly beautiful tale of a doomed relationship. Although I felt some of Anastasia Bunce’s choices were problematic, I still thoroughly enjoyed this provoking performance, and feel the cast and crew deserve commendation. Continue reading Review: Summer and Smoke @ Exeter Phoenix

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Method Making Madness: A Young Photographers’ Competition- CALL FOR ENTRIES

Devon Guild of Craftsmen is offering young photographers a chance to step into the exhibiting world with a competition to inspire, educate and astound. As a young photographer it is really important to start gaining exposure as soon as possible. The more people who see your work, the more likely you will be to gain a following and get work. Continue reading Method Making Madness: A Young Photographers’ Competition- CALL FOR ENTRIES

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Review: 2 Short Nights Film Festival @ Exeter Phoenix

From the 28th to the 30th November, Exeter Phoenix hosted 2 Short Nights, a small film festival devoted mainly to the output and publicity of short films. The events held were all open to the public and ranged from filmmaking tips through start-out workshops, live pitches, discussions with filmmakers and screenings of a foray of brilliant shorts. Continue reading Review: 2 Short Nights Film Festival @ Exeter Phoenix

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Treat yours-Elf to these Christmas films!

Christmas is the time for family, food, gifts, giving thanks etc., but would it really be Christmas without Christmas films? I for one know that sinking into the sofa, stuffed full of turkey and Christmas pudding, and putting on a Christmas movie, is one of the best feelings. The grandparents tend to doze off halfway through (does anyone else’s Grandma always fart and blame it … Continue reading Treat yours-Elf to these Christmas films!

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Review: EUTCO’s Arsenic & Old Lace

When I first heard about EUTCO’s upcoming play on murder, insanity, dark comedy, and two ‘innocent’ old ladies as the instigators of it all, I knew I had to see it. Despite being swamped in essay deadlines and Christmas stress, I was fortunate enough to watch Arsenic & Old Lace on their final night at the Barnfield theatre. While writing this review makes me feel like an ironic parody of protagonist Mortimer – a theatre critic whose (arguable) gift for words causes him to be the victim of his own play – the cast and crew behind this fantastic production certainly deserve the commendation. Continue reading Review: EUTCO’s Arsenic & Old Lace

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Review: BSO’s Russian Winter

For one evening (and one evening only) those present at Exeter Great Hall were transported to cold, 19th century St Petersburg and Moscow; an invited state of Tsardom overseen by the remarkable talents of the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra. With works by three of the biggest names of Russian Romantic music, the Orchestra gave a resounding, and even at times rousing, conclusion to the first instalment of performances at the Great Hall as part of their 2018-19 season. Continue reading Review: BSO’s Russian Winter

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The English Pear: Christmas Lebkuchen

‘’I don’t know what to do! I am as light as a feather, I am as happy as an angel, I am as merry as a school-boy. I am as giddy as a drunken man. A merry Christmas to every-body! A happy New Year to all the world! Hallo here! Whoop! Hallo!” -Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol. Lebkuchen are one of our favourite Christmas treats, but … Continue reading The English Pear: Christmas Lebkuchen

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A  Hyggelig Christmas: Celebrate the festive season the Danish way!

3 ways to hygge up your Christmas and celebrate the festive season the Danish way! As I cycle through the Copenhagen on my route home from classes I start to realise that Denmark is the place to be at Christmas. On my rides to and from University in the city, I have keenly observed the steady construction of markets and the putting-up of the Christmas … Continue reading A  Hyggelig Christmas: Celebrate the festive season the Danish way!

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Best Books to Give this Christmas

Everyone knows a book lover, and while at first you might think “That’s ideal: I can just get them a book for Christmas!” you quickly realise that there’s far, far too much choice for what to buy. With new releases advertised left right and centre, and festive favourites rolled out and put back on display, it can get a bit overwhelming. That said, here’s a … Continue reading Best Books to Give this Christmas

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Frost on Film: Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald

A not so Fantastic opening weekend

Today, not having seen a Harry Potter film is a marker of peculiarity. The Potter universe stands as one of the largest and most successful series to make it to the big screen and seems to be becoming more popular every year. But the new Fantastic Beasts series, set as a precursor to the eponymous events at Hogwarts, has failed to achieve equal praise. Continue reading Frost on Film: Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald

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The English Pear: Cider, Sausage, and Chicken Casserole

“He Looked and smelt like Autumn’s very brother, his face being sunburnt to wheat-colour, his eyes blue as corn-flowers, his sleeves and leggings dyed with fruit-stains, his hands clammy with the sweet juice of apples, his hat sprinkled with pips, and everywhere about him the sweet atmosphere of cider which at its first return each season has such an indescribable fascination for those who have … Continue reading The English Pear: Cider, Sausage, and Chicken Casserole

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Review: Jack and the Beanstalk @ Exeter Northcott

Sitting in the middle of the Northcott theatre last Wednesday evening, the Christmas atmosphere consumed me. Merry Xmas Everybody by Slade was blaring out and an elderly group of women came back from the theatre’s bar with mulled wine. There truly is nothing quite like going to see a pantomime at Christmas. On paper, the premise of a pantomime doesn’t appeal to everybody. Bad jokes and amateur acting often seem like more of a chore than entertainment. In honesty, throughout the rest of the year, I would not feel inclined to watch a pantomime. However, in the festive season, there’s something about the cheesy performances that makes the jolly attitude come out in businessmen and children alike. Continue reading Review: Jack and the Beanstalk @ Exeter Northcott

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Cornwall Snapshots

During opportunities week, instead of reading, I got an “opportunity” to travel to Cornwall for the weekend. It is just 2 hours away from Exeter by car, however, the atmosphere is very different: it is calm, peaceful and the nature is especially stunning. We left Exeter on Friday night to head down to Cornwall with great hopes that the weather would be nice and sunny. The next morning, we woke up early to travel to Land’s End, which is the most westerly point of Cornwall and also of England. It was not the best day for outdoor activities, but we decided to take every chance to see all the places that we wanted. Here are some snapshots of Cornwall through my lens. Continue reading Cornwall Snapshots

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How to execute the Perfect Flat Christmas Dinner

Every year students attempt to create the perfect Christmas dinner, and no matter how carefully you plan it, things will inevitably go wrong. Last year I did two Christmas dinners, one with my flat and one with a group of friends, and although they were both pretty successful, neither of them ran perfectly smoothly. Between the chicken in a bag that wouldn’t defrost, the pigs … Continue reading How to execute the Perfect Flat Christmas Dinner

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Review: Isaac Gracie @ Exeter Phoenix

Gracie has the ‘last words’ on love. I stood at the bar, beer in hand, amongst the bundle of young people all raring to see the London native swoon his way onto the stage. The fans weren’t rowdy, nor were they uncontrollable. They simply sipped their drinks, with the clinking of glasses and a lingering sense of anticipation in the air. Not one of wondering … Continue reading Review: Isaac Gracie @ Exeter Phoenix

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Review: Comptoir Libanais’ Christmas Menu

Fozz: So Katrina, I need to thank you properly for our cute little date night the other day where we got to try the new Christmas menu at Comptoir Libanais! I really enjoyed myself, and the food was pretty good…

Katrina: The food was so good! I’ve never been to Comptoir Libanais so I wasn’t really sure what to expect. As we walked in, I got a really nice vibe from the place straight away and everyone was very friendly. But back to the all important food, what did you think of the menu variety? Continue reading Review: Comptoir Libanais’ Christmas Menu

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In My Good Books: ‘The Children Act’ by Ian McEwan

As an avid Ian McEwan fan, I was keen to read The Children Act, published in 2014, and it is safe to say that this novel did not disappoint. What I find most striking about McEwan’s novels is that each of his books is utterly unique. Atonement explores love, war and innocence, The Child In Time describes a man’s emotional and psychological turmoil following the … Continue reading In My Good Books: ‘The Children Act’ by Ian McEwan

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Frost on Film: A Step Into The Ring

Sports films are not the easiest to make. Many sports are not readily transferable to the big screen and those that are, don’t often work. However, with the upcoming release of Creed II, boxing films keep proving to be the anomaly in all of this, churning out entries year upon year that entertain and motivate in equal measure. Continue reading Frost on Film: A Step Into The Ring

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Review: Shotgun Theatre’s Urinetown

I recently attended a talk by the theatre critic Libby Purves, who admitted that it’s difficult to critique musical theatre productions, because “they just do so much”. This is a statement I wholeheartedly agree with, and one which kept running through my mind during Shotgun’s production of the musical Urinetown. Despite certain hallmarks of an amateur production – largely relating to limitations posed by the venue, stage, and equipment – Urinetown comes across as a colourful explosion of work, creativity and talent. It is a synthesis of drama, dance, costume, set, singing, and music – as the onstage band and ever-present figure of the conductor (Ryan Mulgrew) never let the audience forget. Continue reading Review: Shotgun Theatre’s Urinetown

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Christmas Presents on a Student Budget

I’m sorry, the old Santa can’t come to the phone right now. Why? Because he’s broke. We all know the feeling. The September student loan has nearly been depleted. The Black Friday offers seemed to have everything you had been holding out to buy. The money from the part-time job has mysteriously been spent on food (and maybe alcohol depending on how your month has … Continue reading Christmas Presents on a Student Budget

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Preview: BSO’s Russian Winter

The Bournemouth Symphony orchestra will soon once again grace Exeter Great Hall with its abilities, bringing a seasonal selection to the stage. As the title suggests, the evening of the 6th will consist of three works that deal with the not-so-mild temperament of a ‘Russian Winter’, in what is sure to be a resounding conclusion to the first term’s worth of the orchestra’s 2018-19 season. Conducting the evening will be Antonio Méndez, Principal Conductor of the Orquesta Sinfónica de Tenerife and evidently an expert in his field. He is highly-sought after, and the fact that he is once again returning to work with the BSO is testament to both his and the orchestra’s stature in the classical music world. Continue reading Preview: BSO’s Russian Winter

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Trending on Twitter: Did Iceland know their advert would be banned and should we care?

You won’t see Iceland’s famed Christmas advert on your TV screen this year but, if you have any form of social media, you surely know the devastating story of that cute little orangutan.

I had seen this same animation before on Facebook from Greenpeace and promptly signed their accompanying petition to ‘end dirty palm oil’. I was consequently surprised to see it getting such a resurgence on social media months later and wondered why more people had now decided to circulate the video. It is the word “banned” that is fuelling the intrigue and engagement. Continue reading Trending on Twitter: Did Iceland know their advert would be banned and should we care?

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Review: Rendezvous in Bratislava @ Exeter Phoenix

Part of the magic of live theatre lies in the sharing of experiences. For a couple of hours, audience and performers are united in one space to share stories, music and emotion. On arrival at the Exeter Phoenix Voo-doo Lounge to see Rendezvous in Bratislava, we were welcomed by a woman dressed as a waitress, carrying a tray and speaking rapidly at us in very chirpy Slovak. She offered us a shot of sloe gin each, which we clinked and drank with surprised glee. A nice bev is of course another thing that is shared at the theatre, and this began our evening which was to be full of shared experiences. Continue reading Review: Rendezvous in Bratislava @ Exeter Phoenix

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The John Lewis Christmas Adverts

“It HAS to be out by now, surely?” My housemate Katy burst into my room on the morning of 10th November. After a few minutes of googling, we reached the conclusion that the advert would be coming out soon, possibly even that very day. Over the past few years, the John Lewis Christmas advert has been released between 5th and 11th November. When it came … Continue reading The John Lewis Christmas Adverts

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Lace, Spanx, Thong or ‘No’ – What Constitutes Consent?

(TW// Rape, sexual assault) Rape is commonly understood to be the act of sexual violence in which a woman is penetrated orally or sexually by a man without having given consent. In today’s society, rape is a frequently and openly discussed topic which has lost much of the stigma and taboo which used to surround it. In recent times, various rape cases have swarmed the … Continue reading Lace, Spanx, Thong or ‘No’ – What Constitutes Consent?

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The English Pear: 5 Porridge Recipes

“Ahhh, this porridge is just right,” she said happily and she ate it all up” – The Story of Goldilocks and the Three Bears

Porridge is the best way to start your morning. It’s warming, affordable, healthy, and all round delicious. You can make porridge in many ways, but we’ve listed our five favourites below. We always use chunky traditional rolled oats cooked on the hob for the creamiest porridge (microwave porridge traumas pushed us to this). Add the milk of your choice and you’re ready to go! Continue reading The English Pear: 5 Porridge Recipes

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Interview with BSO’s Marta Gardolińska

Ben Britton: Congratulations on becoming the BSO’s Leverhulme Young Conductor in Association. Could you tell our readers a bit about what the role entails?

Marta Gardolińska: It is a kind of assisting position, but a bit more than that, because it means I have three main responsibilities. One is covering for all the conductors, which means whenever they get sick, whenever they don’t catch a plane, I am there and I have to take over either the rehearsal or concert. The second thing is working with the Participation Department, which organises school concerts and the BSO Resound Concerts, a lot of outreach work. So, I am usually the person who goes to conduct the bigger concerts of these programmes. And I have a series of concerts with the actual BSO throughout the season; one of them is tonight.
Continue reading Interview with BSO’s Marta Gardolińska

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Review: BSO’s Smooth Classics Vol. 2

On Wednesday, the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra brought to Exeter a different form of concert to the standard set-up. As the conductor, Marta Gardolińska, explained to me in my pre-concert interview for RAZZ, it was a night designed to attract those less familiar with classical music with a variety of musical delights. Rather than one or two shorter pieces, an interval, and then a symphony (as is typically done in contemporary concerts), the evening consisted of a tremendous sequence of pieces by a whole range of composers. The title of the evening was ‘Smooth Classics, Vol. 2’ with pieces chosen for their relaxing temperament. This being said, there was a multitude of emotions amongst the pieces of music, which the BSO asserted clearly in their performance. Continue reading Review: BSO’s Smooth Classics Vol. 2

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Review: Shakespeare Society’s ‘Twelfth Night’

Rated one of the top 3 pubs in Exeter on Trip Advisor, and an unlikely destination for a take on arguably Shakespeare’s most famous comedy, I – having never been to the Hole In The Wall – walked in expecting to see a theatre-like stage and chairs. Instead I arrived to a small arrangement of rowed wooden seats and benches, from which an audience watched … Continue reading Review: Shakespeare Society’s ‘Twelfth Night’

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Review: Non-Binary Electro Hour @ Exeter Phoenix

With all forms of theatre that promise to be personal, political, and a tad eccentric, I do my best to go in with no expectations, allowing the show to paint over the blank canvas of my mind, to educate and enlighten me. For Non-Binary Electro Hour, I certainly couldn’t have done it any other way. An electrifying spectacle of art, impersonations, politics and spoken word, the show was a unique and eye-opening exploration of gender through performance.
Continue reading Review: Non-Binary Electro Hour @ Exeter Phoenix

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Review: Double Bill: Bitter About Glitter/Deuce

A festival of trans, non-binary and gender queer theatre in Exeter, what’s not to love? Come as You Are was the sort of thing that I had never been to before but was something I had to get my queer self over to straight away. The double bill of Bitter About Glitter and Deuce were, though some of the least obscure of the shows on offer, the two that were most intriguing. Besides the brief description of them online, there wasn’t a lot of information available beforehand and so I went in unsure of what to expect. That said, I still came out slightly underwhelmed. Continue reading Review: Double Bill: Bitter About Glitter/Deuce

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In My Good Books: ‘The Pursuit of Love’ by Nancy Mitford

Originally published in 1945, The Pursuit of Love is a tale of domesticity. This novel follows the protagonist’s quest for a husband and, preferably, love. Mitford’s The Pursuit of Love offers a light-hearted romance with under-pinning tragic elements, as the characters navigate their complex social obligations. The heroine of the novel (Linda Radlett) is an outspoken and strong-willed character, who is simultaneously endearing and exasperating … Continue reading In My Good Books: ‘The Pursuit of Love’ by Nancy Mitford

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The Hate U Give: Disrupting The Single Story of Black Stereotypes

‘THUG LIFE’: Rapper and Activist Tupac Shakur said the acronym stands for The Hate You Give Little Infants Fucks Everyone. “That’s the hate they are giving us… a system designed against us. That’s thug life” – Angie Thomas Angie Thomas’ Young Adult bestseller, inspired by the Black Lives Matter movement, has been adapted into an equally hard-hitting film. Through the complex characters, the film fully … Continue reading The Hate U Give: Disrupting The Single Story of Black Stereotypes

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Review: Henry V at Exeter Northcott

The production of Shakespeare’s Henry V recently performed at Exeter’s Northcott Theatre by Shakespeare at the Tobacco Factory was given shining 4-star reviews from The Guardian, The Times, What’s on Stage and many others, and it’s really not hard to see why. Lily Arnold, Matthew Graham, and Jane Curnow’s collaboration on set, lighting, and costumes brought the stage to life, with it’s minimalistic scenery of … Continue reading Review: Henry V at Exeter Northcott

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Preview: BSO’s Smooth Classics II

The Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra returns once again to Exeter Great Hall on Wednesday, with the exciting second volume of the ‘Smooth Classics’ branch of their main season. Presenting well-known pieces, including several individual movements from piano concertos, the evening promises to be both diverting and soothing. Conducting the pieces, in her Exeter debut, is Marta Gardolińska, the new BSO Leverhulme Young Conductor in Association, whose last-minute stand-in last month at Poole was received with resounding praise. RAZZ has been lucky enough to secure a forthcoming interview with Ms Gardolińska, to discuss her work and role, and this reviewer looks forward to both meeting her, and seeing her skill first-hand. Continue reading Preview: BSO’s Smooth Classics II

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The English Pear: Honey Roasted Parsnip Soup

“Then consider what victual or esculent things there are which grow speedily and within the year, as parsnips, carrots, turnips, onions, radish, artichokes of Jerusalem, maize and the like” – Of Plantations, Francis Bacon 

As the days are getting colder and the evenings darker, soup brings ultimate cosiness. This honey roasted parsnip soup is our favourite autumnal lunch option. It uses parsnip whilst it’s at its best, and by roasting the veg it brings the first Christmassy feels of the year. This recipe uses a blender or food processor, but an easy alternative is to mash the roasted veg before adding in the liquids. We love pairing this soup with chunky bread, heaps of blankets and a good book. Continue reading The English Pear: Honey Roasted Parsnip Soup

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Review: Chasing Coral

In the last 30 years, 50% of the world’s corals have been lost, and we are likely to lose the remainder within the next 30 years. Chasing Coral documents a group’s project to record time lapses of coral bleaching events, in order to awaken the public’s attention to the effects of global warming in our oceans. It is a ninety-minute whirlwind of beautiful visuals, comic episodes, and most importantly, a stark relation of the catastrophic impact our actions have had upon corals. Continue reading Review: Chasing Coral

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Review: Angelus

Over recent weeks, it’s been difficult to miss the publicity for Theatre with Teeth’s Angelus. After all, what person, seeing the image of the noose on that blood-red background, wouldn’t be intrigued to know what the play is about? With a few more clicks, you find out what is promised; a “splitting new play that deals with loss, morality, and the pursuit of redemption”, written by Patrick Swain. Judging by the size of the audience at the opening performance, I was certainly not the only person to be curious about this new “dark comedy”. Continue reading Review: Angelus

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Preview: Come As You Are @ Exeter Phoenix

Come As You Are is a ground-breaking and eccentric festival that celebrates trans, non-binary, and gender-queer theatre. Titling themselves “Gender Anarchists”, Camden People’s Theatre are travelling across the UK to challenge people’s preconceptions of gender and identity, demonstrating the freedom to be found in interrogating these oppressive norms. Continue reading Preview: Come As You Are @ Exeter Phoenix