Lock and Key, VAULT Festival

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by guest critic Lara Alier

Smaller scale musicals are on the rise at the moment. They’re performed in smaller venues that, as well as being kinder on production costs, also offer an intimacy between performers and the audience that we really value.  Lock and Key’s cast is also small, with only two performers on stage, and a live quartet including a cello, violin, piano, and a cajón.

A young intern is on a quest: to pass her probation period and fight her way into the company. No emails are left unsent, the post-its pile up on her desk, and the photocopier’s seriously abused, yet it never seems to be enough for her tyrant boss. Though the capacity of the actors cannot be doubted, the characters seem too stereotypical and one-dimensional.

The use of microphones feels quite unjustified, especially in such a small space with few musicians. They doesn’t favour the voices of the performers and arguably a couple of songs are too broad for the singers’ range.

One particularly brilliant moment is the song “Press the One”. In it, Samantha – the boss – takes care of her mum by telling her how to use the microwave and her own phone. Although it is a bit rocky in places, there is an interesting twist at the end Lock and Key, that makes it easier to digest.

Lock and Key runs until 18 March.

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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