Review: The War Inside, VAULT Festival

Fancy 30 minutes of a sonic theatre experience in a shipping container, The War Inside can see you right at VAULT Festival

“Welcome to the Great Immunity Army”

Through its programming, the VAULT Festival can take you to some strange places but it can also take you to some actual strange places, such as a shipping container at the end of Lower Marsh. There you’ll find the Void and inside the Void is a series of womb-like pods where audiences can indulge in the sonic theatre experience that is Camille Dawson’s The War Inside.

You’re invited to sink into beanbags, wrap up in blankets, don headphones and an eyemask (it’s arguably site-specific rather than fully immersive) before this 30 minute audio journey starts. The conceit of this work-in-progress is that we’re experiencing it from within the body of Marnie, a young woman whose diagnosis of bowel disease rocks her world.

From the moment she first spots blood in her poo, Marnie knows that her life is going to have to change. But Dawson’s perspective draws us all inside to tell the story as much from the point of view of the immune system as Marnie herself. Thus we meet organs, blood cells and the regimented way in which they (should) work to explore something of the truth of what it is like to suffer from a hidden illness.

Given the subject matter at hand, The War Inside is surprisingly funny and that in itself feels like a win, chronic disease rarely gets anything but the hand-wringingly awful treatment. And Dawson’s performance along with fellow voice actors Sophie LK Winter and Nathan Queeley-Dennis, combined with Paul Freeman’s enveloping sound design and Cristina Ottonello’s inviting production design, make it an intriguingly different type of show.

Running time: 30 minutes (without interval)
The War Inside is booking at VAULT Festival until 12th March

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *