Review: Conquest, VAULT Festival

Adding to the thought-provoking feminist work at this year’s VAULT Festival – Katie Caden’s Conquest

“Today children, we’re going to talk about sexual consent”

Welcome to the world’s first revenge cupcake company though if you’re a man whose behaviour has been somewhat wanting, you might want to check the frosting. This eye-opening (but honestly, not so far from the realms of reality) business idea lies at the heart of Katie Caden’s Conquest, which asks questions of how pro-active feminists need to be in contemporary society.

At the heart of the show is the relationship between Jo and Alice. They meet by chance in a Boots, where Jo spots Alice crying after a sexual assault has left her in need of a morning-after pill. And as an unlikely friendship blossoms, the ferociously feminist Jo (“she uses the word ‘patriarchy’ in everyday sentences” introduces Alice to the world of Conquest, the company she’s started up with a band of equally wronged women.

The entertainment value in Jess Daniels’ production comes from having Colette Eaton and Lucy Walker-Evans inhabit all of these characters, whilst simultaneously playing Jo and Alice respectively. It neatly lightens the tone of the darker aspects of the material but also prove a stirring showcase for the pair in all the comic highs and emotional lows that they get to portray.

Caden’s script sometimes has the feeling of needing more room to breathe, its bold characterisations necessary for this short running time but resultantly lacking in the subtlety they deserve. But it’s still an entertaining, thought-provoking evening, adding to the amazing discourse going on this year here at the VAULT Festival.

Running time: 60 minutes (without interval)
Conquest is booking at the VAULT Festival until 25th February

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