Review: Dual دوگانه, VAULT Festival

Peyvand Sadeghian tests the limits of what a one-person show can achieve in the achingly personal Dual دوگانه at the VAULT Festival

“What if I had grown up there instead of here?”

There’s a cracking energy at the heart of Dual دوگانه  that marks it out from many of the other solo shows that pepper the programme at the VAULT Festival, really testing the limits of what a one-person show can achieve. Spoken word lip synching, (videoed) puppetry and animation, gameshows, audience-led revolutions, drag performance, poetry, pop – there’s whole worlds packed into this hour.

Writer/performer Peyvand Sadeghian draws deeply from her personal history here. Born in Canning Town to mixed heritage, the process of becoming a naturalised British citizen age 8 threw up issues when trying to visit her extended family in Iran a couple of years later. Not accepting British citizenship there, she had to get an Iranian passport, and name, and somehow ensure safe passage home, all laying further claim to an already tangled identity. Continue reading “Review: Dual دوگانه, 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: Kiss Chase, Bunker Theatre

A part-interactive, part-verbatim speed dating event with a difference – Kiss Chase down in the Bunker Theatre is a night full of potential

“Please fill out your connection forms”

Have you ever been on a speed-dating night? I haven’t (I’m not quite sure how a gay one would work, how do you make sure you’ve seen everyone in the room…answers on a postcard!). So the idea of Kiss Chase – the second show from theatre company Second Circle, written and directed by Hannah Samuels – was an intriguing one, as it promises “a part-interactive, part-verbatim speed dating event” in the confines of the Bunker Theatre, with the bar staying open throughout!

We’re welcomed in warmly by co-host Ruth, serenaded with the rules of the evening by t’other Jim, and then let loose on a series of mini-dates as those with red stickers on their badges move around the room one seat at a time. And the activities to do on these dates are fun enough, wisely steering clear of any place where lines might end up getting crossed and a relief for me given the number of women in the room and my rustiness in that particular game… Continue reading “Review: Kiss Chase, Bunker Theatre”

Review: I Have A Mouth And I Will Scream, VAULT Festival

“We don’t need a book, what we need is action”

The publicity for Abi Zakarian’s I Have A Mouth And I Will Scream puts it better than I ever could – it’s “a play-performance-art-protest-thing.” With one of the funniest lines I’ve heard in a theatre this year, involving Sean Bean. Directed by Rafaella Marcus, the show has all the raw energy of devised work but also carries with it the weight of something much more deeply considered.

I Have A Mouth… is an attempt to “address every single feminist issue in the space of sixty minutes” and does so, with its company of six, in a mightily anarchic manner. These are women who are just as likely to spit in a mirror, throw a tampon at you and bite the head off a wedding bouquet than sit quietly in the corner and put up with the patriarchy any longer and fuck knows, they’ve got every right to be angry. Continue reading “Review: I Have A Mouth And I Will Scream, VAULT Festival”

Review: Turkey, Hope Theatre

“If that’s how much it costs to have a baby…?”

It’s a bold move to put a character as flawed as Madeline front and centre in your debut play; still more to not give her the kind of redemption arc that conventional wisdom suggests we crave in our drama. So Frankie Meredith’s Turkey reveals itself as a nifty piece of writing, developed from a true family story in a Soho Young Writers Lab exercise in 2015 and now premiering at the ever-welcoming Hope Theatre.

At first it doesn’t seem that way. We meet Madeline in the afterglow of a passionate vodka-fuelled night with Toni, adamant she’s not a lesbian – she has a boyfriend she’s cheating on after all – but soon entwined in a full-blown relationship. Fast-forward to moving in together and squabbling over which organic vegetables to buy, the focus of the play soon emerges as Madeline’s unstoppable desire to have a baby becomes the dominant force in their lives. Continue reading “Review: Turkey, Hope Theatre”