Review: Glitter Punch, VAULT Festival

Glitter Punch, VAULT Festival, London

What a play! Lucy Burke’s Glitter Punch proves an absolute highlight of London’s VAULT Festival, Emily Stott also makes herself a name to watch.

“It’s me and you, against the world – John and Molly”

Oh I haven’t wanted to walk out of a show this much in ages. In the best possible way, you understand. The relationship at the heart of Glitter Punch is a thing of absolute wonder, as written by Lucy Burke and acted so damn well perfectly by Emily Stott, I just didn’t want it to end. And if I had walked out, it would have been a happy ending for everyone and everything would have been golden.

But life is rarely like that. And when the punch to the gut comes – and by God is there a punch to the guts, two in fact – the weight of the world comes crashing down and you’re left re-evaluating everything you’ve just seen. The little details that didn’t quite jibe, the inconsistencies that felt a little odd, things you barely noticed suddenly become clear. The certainties you held, thrown up in the air as they’re uncompromisingly tested. Continue reading “Review: Glitter Punch, VAULT Festival”

Review: Inside Pussy Riot, Saatchi Gallery

“Failure to do this will result in your fellow inmates being punished”

How far can immersive theatre push you? How far should immersive theatre push you? The disclaimer for Les Enfants Terribles’ Inside Pussy Riot warns us it is “not for the faint hearted, come prepared to demonstrate and stand up for what you believe in!”. But given that it is trying to give audiences a taste of what it is like to be on the wrong side of a totalitarian regime, from arrest to trial to incarceration with a bit of forced labour in there for good measure, there’s a limit to how far they can actually go.

Marking the 100th annversary of the Russian Revolution, Inside Pussy Riot revisits the experience of Nadya Tolokonnikova and her post punk, feminist art collective colleagues in Pussy Riot, who were convicted and sentenced to two years imprisonment for performing less than 40 seconds of an anti-Putin song in a Moscow cathedral. From the opening moments when you’re invited to pick a balaclava (a range of colours available) to the climactic encouragement to raise your voice in protest, there’s quite the journey ahead. Continue reading “Review: Inside Pussy Riot, Saatchi Gallery”

Review: PLAY – The Subterranean Season, VAULT Festival

“We’re gonna Jean Valjean the shit out of this”

PLAY – The Subterranean Season takes in plays 23-26 in their ever-growing programme of short plays, devised in just two weeks by a collaboration of writers, directors and actors up for the challenge of creating something sparklingly, spankingly, brand new and fresh. I saw PLAY Theatre Theatre Company for the first time at the VAULT Festival last year and fell for them hard, as is evident from the pull quote they’ve opted to use on their publicity this year (one for my scrapbook!). 

As ever, the four PLAYs cover a wide range of themes and styles, from the deceptively whimsical to the psychologically acute, sometimes within the same 15 minutes. For me, Aisha Zia’s 24 and Miriam Battye’s 26 achieved this balance perfectly, the former (directed by Holly Race-Roughan) mixing hipsterish shenanigans with guitars and cardboard boxes with a darkening look at the desperation of flat-hunting in South London. And the latter’s portrayal of an intense friendship was breath-takingly good, Matt Harrison teasing some sensational work from Emily Stott and Jessica Clark. Continue reading “Review: PLAY – The Subterranean Season, VAULT Festival”