Review: Tomorrow Creeps, VAULT Festival

“He received them with a strange delight”

As an intellectual exercise, Golem!’s Tomorrow Creeps is something of a delight – a new play by David Fairs stitched together from 16 works by Shakespeare and shot through with lyrical inspiration from Kate Bush. And in the dark and dank surroundings of the Cavern, with creepingly textured sound work from Odinn Hilmarsson and a powerfully atmospheric lighting design (uncredited), the potential of the piece is palpable.

The reality is something a little more elusive though. In this shadowy world, strangeness abounds. The Hollow Hero has imprisoned The Fallen Tyrant but needs his help for something or other; the malevolent Tyrant misses his dead wife as she is called The Spectral Queen, it turns out she’s closer to hand than he thinks; and the supernatural haunts everything they do with noted kook Hecate willing to cause nuisance at the shake of a salt cellar. Continue reading “Review: Tomorrow Creeps, VAULT Festival”

2018 Vault Festival – what to see

On the one hand, that the Vault Festival has expanded to over 300 shows running over 8 weeks is fantastic news for the emerging theatremakers that it supports. On the other, it means making the choice about what to see, even tackling the catalogue alone can feel somewhat daunting. It has taken me a wee while to get round to delving into it myself, but as the festival is set to open this week, here’s some of my top tips for each week. Continue reading “2018 Vault Festival – what to see”

Review: Miss Nightingale – the musical, Vaults

“You’ve got to get your sausage where you can”

It’s fascinating to be able to revisit shows along their developmental cycle. I first saw Miss Nightingale in its initial chamber-musical incarnation at the King’s Head back in 2011 and since then, it has become a fully-fledged piece which has toured the UK extensively. This residency at the Vaults marks the show’s fifth production and the first time I’ve been able to revisit and reassess Matthew Bugg’s actor-musician musical.

Set in London in 1942, it relays two parallel and interconnected narratives – the metamorphosis of nurse Maggie Brown to fresh new cabaret star Miss Nightingale, and the illicit gay love affair between her Polish-Jewish émigré songwriter and the upper-class war hero-turned-nightclub-impresario who is behind their rise. As bombs continue to fall on London, contemporary attitudes toward homosexuality threaten to cause no less potent explosions. Continue reading “Review: Miss Nightingale – the musical, Vaults”