Review: V+15, VAULT Festival

Jo Sutherland’s V+15 strikes a rare duff note for me at the VAULT Festival

“When we speak up, when we write, the world moves in the direction of what is possible”

In a society where totalitarian rule has become the norm, where would you find yourself? Writer Alina has thrown her lot in with the rebel alliance, working to overthrow the regime and she’s hoping that Vincent, a fellow creative and broadcaster who has been radio silent for the last couple of years, will become the latest recruit to their cause.

Jo Sutherland’s V+15 probes at differing notions of morality, shaped by years of oppression and censorship and asking whether freedom of speech carries the same weight under such circumstances. And as events threaten to overtake them, Alina and Vincent have to question whether debate can effectively turn into direct action, if need be.

Sarita Plowman and Gianbruno Spena do their best to build up their characters but there’s no mistaking that they are weighted down by an extremely verbose script. More crucially, the writing feels too often shaped around talking points rather than stemming from character, which stifles much of its development.

And for all the words, there’s a strange lack of detail to this dystopian world, too little clue given as to how and why society has ended up this way. The result here is a production that it is hard to muster too much excitement for as any early promise disappears into the ether. 

Running time: 60 minutes (without interval)
V+15 is booking at the VAULT Festival until 1st March

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