Review: Killing It, VAULT Festival

Full of moments where you’re not sure if you’re laughing or crying, Killing It talks about grief beautifully at the VAULT Festival

“Thanks for coming – sorry about the dark”

It can be a bit overwhelming sometimes, trying to decide what to see in the multitudes of shows that make up the VAULT Festival. But the presence of both Janet Henfrey and Doña Croll in the cast for Killing It made it a no-brainer, it’s just a shame that it is only playing for two nights.

Written by Josephine Starte, who also completes the company, Killing It circles around how grief affects those left behind, and how that might vary between different generations. So when a young man goes missing at sea, his girlfriend, his mother and his grandmother try to find a way forward that manages to make that grief useful in the way that society suggests is the right thing to do.

Lily McLeish’s production divides the stage in three with Ant Doran’s lighting delineating the separation most effectively, so that even though the women come together at various times, there’s a clear sense that they’re on individual journeys. At the same time, the wash of Julian Starr’s evocative soundscape hints at the ebb and flow of that grief, how its weight is always there even if it isn’t felt so keenly from time to time.

And as Starte’s Molly converts her pain into standup comedy, as Croll’s Vanessa finds escape in making flower arranging videos on YouTube and Henfrey’s Margot plots to assassinate the visiting president, there’s a beautiful, communal warmth to the sharing of these stories, ideal for those moments when you’re not sure if you’re laughing or crying.  

Running time: 1 hour (without interval)
Photos: Toby Parker Rees 
Killing It is booking at the VAULT Festival until 26th February

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