Review: Scream Phone, VAULT Festival

Swipe Right Theatre’s Scream Phone is a hilarious 80s spoof musical at the VAULT Festival

“Who who who’s gotta crush on you?”

Funny story – I didn’t get to see Swipe Right Theatre’s last show 2 Become 1 because when I got to the theatre, they’d cancelled the performance and neglected to tell me. But I’m not (that) bitter (honest) and so I was glad to be able to see their follow up musical Scream Phone as part of this year’s VAULT programme.

And I’m mighty glad I did because theirs is an 80s referencing, horror movie-spoofing, tongue-in-cheek kind of humour that is right up my boulevard and it is on fine form here. It’s 1989, Queen Bee Melody is hosting a sleepover for her pals: she;s got her new Dream Phone at the ready, the pizza’s coming and Richard* the foreign exchange student is in town – all the ingredients for a real good time right?

Well yes, a real good time indeed. Scream Phone is sprinkled liberally with pop classics which have been wittily rewritten and brilliantly staged. Madonna would kill for a tune like ‘What a Big Ball’ and its splits, so too the Eurythmics with the raw sexuality of ‘Some Pots (Are Made of Clay) which was a seminal influence on the film Ghost which came out in 1990 after all and so had to have copied these guys here, right?! 

Swipe Right’s is a deliciously silly sense of humour. Alexandra Lewis’ nerdish Stacey and Natasha Granger’s Regina George-esque Melody are both great value for money but Kerrie Thomason’s performance is a minor-key work of comic genius, she has the kind of stage presence you cannot drag your eyes from and more often than not, she had me in stitches. 

The horror story narrative is almost by-the-by, such is the fun level, but a cheeky bit of audience participation pays off handsomely and in the grand tradition of these things, there’s a twist or two to keep you guessing. Plus some Belinda Carlisle – what more could you want from a show. Worth looking out for if/when it resurfaces.

Running time: 1 hour (without interval)
Scream Phone is booking at the VAULT Festival until 24th February

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