Ashley Milne’s Untitled Sparkly Vampire Play is a play full of potential at Clapham’s Omnibus Theatre
“I can’t kiss you. I’d chew your mouth off. Too dangerous”
Truth be told, I’ve not read any Twilight books nor seen any of the movies, so I’m sure that there’s untold levels of Untitled Sparkly Vampire Play that passed right over my head. But a play that describes itself as “an explosive reaction to compulsory heterosexuality” is not one easily resisted so a sunny Sunday afternoon trip to Clapham was booked in.
Twenty-something Izzy has never really stopped being a Twilight superfan and just wants to run her Twilight book club without dealing with any of the issues that are starting to crop up in real life. At first, it’s rather light-hearted as Edward Cullen keeps popping up at inopportune moments but as we see that her fantasy boyfriend looks an awful lot like her IRL friend Esther, it becomes apparent that lines are becoming increasingly blurred.
Ashley Milne’s play deals impressively with the realities of being socially awkward, especially as that interacts with questions about sexuality, and is unafraid to show Izzy with all her jagged edges. Amelia Paltridge revels in this complexity, connecting so well with Kate Crisp whether as Edward or Esther and by avoiding the cookie cutter, it is a connection that is all the more compelling.
Structurally though, the play doesn’t quite hang together so well. The mike-led book-club framing device sits a little awkwardly after the opening scene, feeling more interrupting than integrating. And the presence of a third company member – Caidraic Heffernan’s work colleague Mason – is under-explored, again lacking that sense of being integral to the story (despite Heffernan’s entertaining work).