SURPRISE!, VAULT Festival

by guest critic Amy Toledano

Little did I know when I was walking into Waterloo East Theatre, that I wasn’t just seeing a show about mental health and surprise parties. I was actually attending said party with our wonderful, if not a little anxious, party host and creator of this highly entertaining one woman show: Lauren Silver.

Upon entering the space I was handed a party hat and raffle ticket and was pleased to see that all audience members were donning their hats with excitement. We then delved in to the party head first while Silver was explaining to us how terrified she actually was.

Lauren has such a severe type of anxiety that she can’t enjoy things out of her control, and one thing she particularly struggles with is surprises. So she’s here to face her fear, with us next to her, and battle it she does.

Confetti cannons, Colin the Caterpillar and Jeff Goldblum are just some of the things that make this show hilarious. The use of audience participation also brings some truly brilliant moments to the stage, that even had Silver herself in fits of laughter. This is all while she’s dressed in an oversized costume.

SURPRISE! feels incredibly original and defies genre. It also touches on the issue of mental health in such a poignant way, that once Silver spoke honestly and directly about how much this illness has affected her life, I was side swiped with emotion.

Absolutely stunning work that totally takes you by surprise!

SURPRISE! ran through 15 February.

The Play’s the Thing UK is committed to covering fringe and progressive theatre in London and beyond. It is run entirely voluntarily and needs regular support to ensure its survival. For more information and to help The Play’s the Thing UK provide coverage of the theatre that needs reviews the most, visit its patreon.

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