Review: All By Myself, VAULT Festival

Part of the Main’s solo and silent All By Myself sadly doesn’t work for me at the VAULT Festival


Part of the Main have already had one show at this year’s VAULT Festival – the raucously entertaining Bloody Mary: Live! – and have a third lined up for next week in The Tinker. In the middle though is All By Myself which proves to be something of a left-field surprise. A movement-led solo piece with no words is a bold proposition, add apocalypses and avocados into the mix and it is even more so!

We’re in the world of social media influencers and All By Myself opens with an eye-opening sequence in which our particular influence is putting together some content, working through different angles of head tilt, pouty smiles and tones of voices to reach out to her fans. Only thing is, it is the literal end of the world and so she really is having to put a brave face on it, hashtag #realworldproblems.

It’s a fascinating concept, co-written by Jessica Bickel-Barlow (who also directs) and Charlotte Blandford (who performs), but one which didn’t quite work for me. Lily Howkins’ movement direction assists Blandford in a highly expressive performance but it isn’t abundantly clear what the emotional hook is, why should we care particularly for this young woman. As fascinating as it is, the format works against the play.

Running time: 60 minutes (without interval)
Photo: Alessandra Davison
All By Myself is booking at VAULT Festival until 12th February

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