Review: The Brief Life and Mysterious Death of Boris III, King of Bulgaria: Part The First, VAULT Festival

Out Of The Forest Theatre nail it once again with The Brief Life and Mysterious Death of Boris III, King of Bulgaria: Part The First at the VAULT Festival

“I did what I could…
‘Did you?'”

I would hardwire Out Of The Forest Theatre to my brain if I could, something about the way in which they think about theatre and the stories that they tell (Call Me Fury; Bury the Hatchet) proving a real shot in the arm and deserving of much bigger renown. But for now, we should rejoice in the smaller spaces in which they’re playing as the intimacy only adds to this special air.

The latest chapter of the history books to receive a breath of their bracingly fresh air is a lesser sung (in this country at least) piece of European history that manifests itself as The Brief Life and Mysterious Death of Boris III, King of Bulgaria: Part The First. Written by Joseph Cullen and Sasha Wilson, their inventive mode of storytelling probes into the mythos of that very storytelling and how history chooses to remember people. Continue reading “Review: The Brief Life and Mysterious Death of Boris III, King of Bulgaria: Part The First, 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: Call Me Fury, VAULT Festival

Out of the Forest’s Call Me Fury, looks like it might become another hit show for this award-winning company

“Forget everything you know”

Fresh from their Offie-award winning success and more significantly, being named in my top 10 shows of last year, Out of the Forest Theatre return swiftly with their new play Call Me Fury, presented here as a work-in-progress by writer Sasha Wilson. And once again, she urges us to reconsider what we think of as history, whilst constructing a new narrative that seeks to redress some of that patriarchal imbalance.

This time it is the Salem Witch Trials that are the primary target, though Wilson’s forensic eye layers in so much more besides. Notions of women not being believed in courtrooms, men abusing positions of power, lies gaining a terrible currency through all levels of society – there’s a terrible timelessness to so much of the way that women have been and still are treated, history needs to teach us better but it has to be the right history. Continue reading “Review: Call Me Fury, VAULT Festival”

Review: The Teind, London Horror Festival at Old Red Lion

ONEOHONE’s The Teind takes the London Horror Festival into the world of long-form interactive theatre to great effect

“tHeY aRE very

DanGerOus”

One of the more inventive entries into the London Horror Festival was ONEOHONE’s The Teind, a one-on-one interactive horror story stretching out over three weeks. Over Whatsapp, text messages, phone calls, Twitter, blogs and even face-to-face meetings, you’re drawn into a strange and slightly surreal world of darkly-tinged fairytale.

As a choose-your-own-adventure, The Teind is entirely individualised (there’s at least eight different endings) and so I won’t be giving anything away about the story, that will be for you to discover when next the show emerges. But there’s still lots to talk about in Asia Osborne and Eleanor Rushton’s creation, not least the amount of invention it contains. Continue reading “Review: The Teind, London Horror Festival at Old Red Lion”

Review: On Your Head Be It, London Horror Festival at Old Red Lion

My first foray into the London Horror Festival sees me take in On Your Head Be It at the Old Red Lion Theatre

“Do you want to be caught by the police?”

There’s nothing quite like being smacked around the head by the brilliance of a theatre company and that was my experience the first time I saw Out of the Forest Theatre with their striking take on the story of Lizzie Borden – Bury the Hatchet. So of course I was delighted to find their newest show popping up as part of the London Horror Festival at the Old Red Lion.

Written by and starring Joseph Cullen and Sasha Wilson, On Your Head Be It – A Cautionary Tale is the story of a couple trying to enjoy a bit of holiday in deepest Wales, a break from the old routine. After a rocky journey there and a few bottles of sauvignon blanc have been downed, it soon becomes clear to what extent Stuart and Eleanor are no ordinary couple though. Continue reading “Review: On Your Head Be It, London Horror Festival at Old Red Lion”

Review: Gentle Tim, VAULT Festival

“I wanted to be with the animals”

There’s plenty of men looking for bears under the railway arches of Southwark for those of that particular persuasion but in Gentle Tim, it’s most definitely the more ursine types in play. Over The Limit’s inaugural London production, directed by Sinead O’Callaghan, takes its inspiration from the life of Timothy Treadwell, immortalised in Werner Herzog’s Grizzly Man but given a new treatment here by Joseph Cullen, who also plays Tim himself.

Treadwell was an American environmentalist, best known for spending 13 consecutive summers in Alaska with nothing but a video camera and the population of grizzly bears there for company. Cullen asks the question whether he was a genuinely well-intentioned documentary-maker or a fantasist suffering delusions of grandeur in the isolated Alaskan wilderness. Blending physical theatre, a score of cinematic scale and dramatic monologue, Gentle Tim looks anew at this fascinating figure. Continue reading “Review: Gentle Tim, VAULT Festival”