Review: All Quiet on the Western Front, VAULT Festival

Incognito Theatre Company present a powerful and physical take on All Quiet on the Western Front at the VAULT Festival

“We were eighteen years old, and just learning to love the world and being in it, and then we had to shoot it to bits.”

A sensitive and intelligent choice underpins this deeply moving adaptation of Erich Remarque’s All Quiet on the Western Front by Incognito Theatre Company. Though the narrative follows the experience of German trench warfare, the company speak in English accents and so you can’t help but feel for all of the many millions who were killed, regardless of their nationality.

The five classmates who are recruited from their schoolroom and shipped off to the frontline with just the scarcest bit of shoddy training could be from anywhere – patriotic feeling knows no borders – and the empty promises they receive sound the same in any language. Nobody was home for Christmas. What sustained them, as much as it could, was the camaraderie of their fellow soldiers. Continue reading “Review: All Quiet on the Western Front, VAULT Festival”

2020 VAULT Festival – 20 shows to see

Insofar as it is humanly possible for any one person to know everything that is happening at the VAULT Festival this year, I present a handful of my recommendations for 2020.

In all honesty though, I think the best thing to do is just pick a night, go down there and see what tickles your fancy – the level of quality here really is something to admire and means it’ll be very hard to end up disappointed. Take a look at their website here.

LGBT+ stories

Body Talk – 29 Jan — 02 Feb
Full Disclosure Theatre take on male body image from the gay perspective, looking at the damage that can be imposed by obsessing over it.

how we love 18 — 23 Feb
Regi and Babs are getting married. She’s a lesbian and he’s gay but they need the cover to deal with the dangers posed by the prevailing attitudes towards homosexuality in Nigeria.

Notch 19 — 23 Feb
After the devilish fun of Ladykiller, the Thelmas return with this dark meditation on migration, homelessness and obsession from Danaja Wass.

V&V 03 — 08 Mar
Exploring communication then and now, V&V contrasts love stories past and present from Virginia Woolf and Vita Sackville-West’s love letters, to Mia and Lottie’s online missives.

Too Pretty To Punch 03 — 08 Mar
A comedy spoken word show from Edalia Day about gender and featuring original songs and video work about trans life in 21st century Britain. Continue reading “2020 VAULT Festival – 20 shows to see”

Review: Tobacco Road, VAULT Festival

Playing like an unofficial adaptation of Peaky Blinders, Incognito Theatre’s Tobacco Road is a mixed bag at the VAULT Festival

“We should tell them how we got here
We’ll have to start all the way at the beginning”

While we wait for the inevitable offical theatrical adaptation of Peaky Blinders, an unofficial one emerges in the form of Tobacco Road. Incognito Theatre’s play, directed by Roberta Zuric, has an impressive visual flair to it (choreography by Zak Nemorin) and is undoubtedly inventively staged, it just lacks originality.

Delving into life as a gangster in the immediate aftermath of the Great War, the play pulls out theme after theme in an attempt to give voice to the kind of stories that don’t get enough airtime. But as another and then another is pulled out of the hat – it’s hard to be a woman, it’s hard to be a gay, it’s hard to be a drug addict – too little get the attention they deserve. Continue reading “Review: Tobacco Road, VAULT Festival”

2019 VAULT Festival – 20 shows to see

With less than a week to go before the 2019 VAULT Festival opens, I wade my way through the catalogue and come up with 20 shows I think you should catch – in their own words

Now in its seventh year, VAULT Festival returns this year from 23rd January to 17th March with a broad and diverse programme of more than 400 shows in a range of atmospheric venues throughout Waterloo. And as ever, the remit is to be as big and bold as impossible, with the festival featuring theatre, comedy, cabaret, immersive experiences, late night parties, and much more besides.

It can be a little overwhelming to figure out what you want to see, the majority of shows run for a week (Wednesday to Sunday) so you’ll need to move pretty sharpish once you’ve decided – there’s the VAULT Combo deal which saves you money booking more than one show, and some 241 deals available through the Stagedoor app. And to help you, I’ve identified 20 shows (and it could have been so many more!) that appealed to me and asked them to sell themselves in 10 words or less in order to grab your attention.  Continue reading “2019 VAULT Festival – 20 shows to see”