Space Play, VAULT Festival

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by guest critic Michael Davis

In recent years, tales of space travel have been making more of an appearence in theatre. While the Royal Court showcased Alistair McDowall’s X last year, the Fringe scene has had mature, high-quality productions of its own – including Emily Holyoake’s Stasis and Curious Directive’s Pioneer. Space Play, which has been running at the VAULT Festival, looks at the aftermath of orbital collision with space debris, inspired by the events of the film Gravity.

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Daddy’s Girl, VAULT Festival

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by guest critic Michael Davis

Prison dramas are practically a genre in their own right on television and the silver screen, but for the stage they are not so common (apart from in a historical context). Daddy’s Girl, which is directed by Alice Malin, focuses on Terry (Mark Wingett) –  in jail for life for armed robbery – and his adult daughter Eliza (Georgia Brown).

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A Year From Now, VAULT Festival

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by guest critic Jo Trainor

“Two or three people with guitars call themselves a band, they’re a group!”

Red Belly Black Theatre Company asked fourteen people where they think they’ll be a year from now, and have used their voices to create an hour of witty, beautiful and moving theatre.

Lip-synced verbatim is a new experience for this reviewer, and if you’re not used to it there is a brief moment where you need to get on board with the style. Luckily Red Belly Black are so precise with their movements and mannerisms that it’s impossible not to love A Year From Now.

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Worlds, VAULT Festival

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by guest critic Willa O’Brian

Housed in the studio space at the Vault Festival, which exudes graffiti-chic and pulls hip, supportive and discerning audiences, Bruised Sky productions presents Worlds, written and directed by Martin Murphy. Worlds opens with a nondescript pop song of the ilk that seems intended to tug on one’s heartstrings. The kind you hear over a montage of the hero of the rom-com sadly perusing photos of his ex-girlfriend when he has an epiphany about how to win her back. Needless to say, not an auspicious start, but we discover that one of the characters, Bas is a Dublin-boy living in London making a killing at being a musician, “mostly pop, really if I’m being honest with myself.” In a world where the number of downloads rather than emotional authenticity are the barometer to success, the track overlaying the opening is a rather fitting choice.

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The Subterranean Season, VAULT Festival

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by guest critic Jo Trainor

A calcification called Danny Dyer, porn, truffle oil and guitar guns – PLAY Theatre company are back at the VAULT Festival after winning the People’s Choice Award last year. The Subterranean Season comprises of four writer/director teams and ten actors putting on a series of short performances. Although each of the four plays are independent, and different in substance and style, the patchwork production doesn’t feel jarring or disconnected. The energy on stage and the skill of the writers make The Subterranean Season a cohesive performance.

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Wayward, VAULT Festival

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by guest critic Martin Pettitt

After enduring the disorganisation of the first night of Vault Festival, entering the performance space is an instant antidote. Through hallways of cluttered objects and draped fabrics, we are guided by the music into a cavernous, atmospheric space arranged with a hotchpotch of tables and chairs and twinkling decorations. This physical preamble is wonderfully relevant to the down-the-rabbit-hole story we are treated to.

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Politic Man, Ivy House

What with growing up outside of the UK, my knowledge of British history is quite patchy. I can tell you a lot about the late Elizabethan and early Jacobean eras when Shakespeare was alive, but outside of these time periods, I know little. I quite like social history, so learning about new-to-me historical figures through theatre is an event of joyous discovery. What with my leftie sentiments currently battered, encountering someone from the past committed to social justice and equality adds to the excitement even if the play has its shortcomings.

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