Review: Far Out, VAULT Festival

L Squared’s Far Out is the queer sci-fi comedy you really need in your life, playing at the VAULT Festival

“Please tell me a dehydrated lemon isn’t the only thing keeping us alive”

There’s real joy at the heart of Far Out which makes it an utter joy to watch. Sci-fi and queerness have long been close bunkmates but what is particularly pleasing about Libby Williamson’s play, inventively directed by Lauren Lambert Moore, is that though it is suffused with that queerness, it isn’t actually about being queer. It feels like real progress, though it turns out we have to wait until 2150 for it to happen.

Something else that has happened in the meantime is that humankind has burnt up the Earth, climate change forcing the last remaining corporation to send spaceships, populated by teams of three, out into the universe to find a new habitable planet for the human race. In this unique circumstance, our trio have to navigate establishing personal relationships as well as dodging asteroids and black holes.

It’s an engaging concept and the idea of an algorithm being able to select ideal shipmates is explored as pilot Jed, mechanic Ellis and captain Alma feel their way into a working relationship. They’re all dealing with their own damage, their own grief at losses in their former lives but as they travel through deep space, larger, more pressing concerns emerge in the form of some satisfyingly weighty issues from birthday parties to betrayal.

Arabella Wunderlich’s spaceship design achieves a lot with a little, aided by adorably cute but highly effective animations from Curtis Argent. And Bertie Taylor-Smith, Atlanta Hayward and Bobby Wilkinson make for an appealing company that you’d happily trust to look after the entire fate of humanity. Confident and creative, Far Out is a cracker of a space comedy.

Running time: 60 minutes (without interval)
Photo: Lidia Crisafulli
Far Out is booking at the VAULT Festival until 18th February

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