February was b-u-s-y busy, with a huge outbreak of new theatre openings competing for attention. And hearteningly, the stand-out shows mostly came from smaller venues putting on beautifully thought through experimental work. New Diorama Theatre’s current season has been an unalloyed joy, from the artfully-curated line-up right down to the fetching enamel pins for each show. Kandinsky’s devised show Dinomania, which digs through the rivalries of Victorian fossil hunters, is arguably the best yet: Exeunt’s reviewer Brendan MacDonald called it “storytelling at its best”. Read his review here. Over at The Yard, drag king troupe Pecs are giving a queer sex education lesson we all need with SEX SEX MEN MEN (read Hannah Greenstreet’s review here). Or for a show that Francesca Peschier’s stage direction-inspired response called “defiant, resilient and celebratory”, go to And the rest of me floats.
Also worth a look: Berberian Sound Studio, an expertly-designed exploration of cinematic horror (Hannah Greenstreet’s review here). There’s also a second chance to catch Bryony Kimmings’ astounding show I’m a Phoenix Bitch (review here). And, finally, Improbable’s tumbling, multi-layered, form-breaking football narrative The Paper Man is playing Soho Theatre until the end of this week – read Exeunt’s review here.
Telling the stories of Sheffield’s Park Hill estate, Standing at the Sky’s Edge is a new musical with an incredible sounding-concept; unlike the many, many West End shows that cast an affectionate eye back at mid-century working class experience, this story with songs by Richard Hawley takes us from urban utopia to today’s social housing crisis.
Look, I’d like to never-think-or-talk-about-Brexit as much as the next person but it’s scheduled for the end of March, and Live Art Bistro’s Performing Britain is an intriguing-sounding response to it. 30 artists will assemble in multiple venues across Leeds for 24 hours, making interventions that explore ideas of nationhood, Britishness, and anti-migrant feeling. And (joy!) it’s Pay What You Can. Track down more info here.
Heads up Black Mirror fans, National Theatre of Scotland are taking over an empty office block to stage Interference, a trio of new futuristic plays, directed by the reliably excellent Cora Bissett. And in an interesting bit of synchronicity, Imitating the Dog are staging Conrad adaptation Heart of Darkness at Tron Theatre (7th-9th March) at the same time as London’s Gate Theatre stage The Ridiculous Darkness, with both using the film Apocalypse Now as reference points – please, someone, splash out on a train ticket and see both.
Exeunt Recommends is a regular series highlighting the shows and festivals our writers are excited about: we try to make it UK-wide, but the range of areas featured is subject to what’s on. For more tips, browse through our recent reviews.