Review: Violet, VAULT Festival

Some beautiful lighting work elevates Bebe Sanders’ Violet at the VAULT Festival

“A change is as good as a rest”

Bebe Sanders’ Violet should not be confused with Jeanine Tesori’s Violet, though they do share a touch of the same DNA in tracking an epochal journey for a young woman. Here, Bertie is 27 and when she loses her job, boyfriend and flat in quick succession, she abandons London to find refuge in a cousin’s house by the seaside.

Feeling a failure and lacking direction, it is only a chance encounter with an old woman on a beach that offers a chink of light through the darkness of her depression. But from there grows an unlikely friendship as Violet employs Bertie as an assistant and their relationship develops to include chip shop pickled eggs, swing dance lessons and no small amount of wine. Continue reading “Review: Violet, VAULT Festival”

Review: 3 Winters, National Theatre

“Governments fall, wars break out – there’ll be nothing left of this country”

Recent Croatian history forms the fascinating backdrop to Tena Štivičić’s 3 Winters, a multi-generational family drama that stretches across nearly 70 years and endless drama, both political and personal. From the 1945 establishment of the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia that replaced the monarchy and promised a bright future, to its collapse in 1990 presaging both independence and the bitterly fought Balkan conflicts of that decade, and then on again to a 2011 that heralds another form of confederacy as Croatia enters into EU accession talks. Štivičić’s focus remains on a single household throughout but it can’t help but be influenced by the turbulence of the times.

That household is the Zagreb home of the Kos family, a plush place passed into their hands during the nationalisation of property at the end of the Second World War. So the residence that Monika previously served in becomes the house her daughter Rose moves into with her daughter Masha. Masha grows up to be a forthright wife and mother of two and as the clan gathers to celebrate the wedding of one of those daughters Lucia, years of frustrations and secrets and history and lies begin to uncoil as past events catch up with present actions. Štivičić takes her time to set up the play in a languorous first half but the pay off is intensely wielded after the interval. Continue reading “Review: 3 Winters, National Theatre”