Review: Dual دوگانه, VAULT Festival

Peyvand Sadeghian tests the limits of what a one-person show can achieve in the achingly personal Dual دوگانه at the VAULT Festival

“What if I had grown up there instead of here?”

There’s a cracking energy at the heart of Dual دوگانه  that marks it out from many of the other solo shows that pepper the programme at the VAULT Festival, really testing the limits of what a one-person show can achieve. Spoken word lip synching, (videoed) puppetry and animation, gameshows, audience-led revolutions, drag performance, poetry, pop – there’s whole worlds packed into this hour.

Writer/performer Peyvand Sadeghian draws deeply from her personal history here. Born in Canning Town to mixed heritage, the process of becoming a naturalised British citizen age 8 threw up issues when trying to visit her extended family in Iran a couple of years later. Not accepting British citizenship there, she had to get an Iranian passport, and name, and somehow ensure safe passage home, all laying further claim to an already tangled identity.

What follows is a first-hand exploration of just something of what it means to be multicultural, specifically through the prism of British-Iranian international relations but also more widely as ideas of dual citizenship and the realities of possessing a certain nationality start to bite more than ever before (waves at Colin…). And as Sadeghian pushes for revolution – cos that’s the answer right? Overthrow whichever regime is oppressing you, right? – there’s a sensitive study of just how much that might cost, both personally and politically.

Along with director Nastazja Somers, there’s clearly boundless artistic vision here, as the show cycles through its various components. It feels less like the advertised mosaic though, and more like a kaleidoscope, the lawful chaos of its shifting parts not always clearly in focus. That said, there’s an undoubted joyfulness and passion that underscores Sadeghian’s every breath, move and beard-wearing arm-wave which sends ripples of layered meaning through Dual دوگانه.

Running time: 60 minutes (without interval)
Photos: Ali Wright
Dual دوگانه is booking at the VAULT Festival until 23rd February

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