Review: Sugar Coat, VAULT Festival

Sugar Coat is an uncomproming but thrilling mix of theatre and gig at the VAULT Festival

Whether by an accident of fate or intentional programming, the Forge has been something of a revelation for me at the VAULT Festival, housing some of the more weird and wonderful shows I’ve seen there this year. Sugar Coat maintains that trend with an uncomproming but thrilling mix of theatre and gig.

Written by Joel Samuels (A Wake in Progress, which DESTROYED me last year) and Lilly Pollard, the show spares no prisoners in a forthright depiction of eight formative years of a young woman’s life as she experiences much – too much – of what life has to offer as sexual thrills sit next to shattering trauma.

Presented by an all-womxn band who dip in and out of playing characters and instruments, Riot Grrrl-inspired songs bleed into short scenes and back again, creating a vibe of almost performance art-level that director Celine Lowenthal marshals well. It also proves a canny decision as it carefully means the moves into emotionally bruising territory don’t carry their own trauma with them. 

I loved the fearlessness of a show unafraid to delve into the contradictions of a society that represses openness about talking about sex yet carries the presumption that you are and should be having sex. And through the lens of a young woman that is naturally sharpened, Dani Heron’s lead performance a blistering success through the laughter and tears. Now let me go Spotify some Le Tigre…

Running time: 1 hour (without interval)
Photos: Ali Wright
Sugar Coat is booking at the VAULT Festival until 15th March

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