Hear Me Howl, Vault Festival

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by Laura Kressly

Jess’s has a comfortable life. The 29-year-old has a good job, a partner, a home (that she rents, of course – she’s not that lucky) and her mum lives nearby. She keeps busy with nights out, mate’s hen dos and watching Love Island curled up on the couch with her boyfriend Taj and a pack of Hobnobs. She’s happy.

Then, a doctor’s appointment has an unexpected outcome, dropping Jess at an unwanted yet unavoidable crossroads. Whilst she decides which path to take, she joins a post-punk band, discovers politics and otherwise discovers a world she never knew she was missing out on. Which route does she choose – home comforts and predictable structure, or anarchic unknown and total freedom?

Alice Pitt-Carter is a funny and engaging performer. Her indecision and stress is fully convincing, and holds our attention for the length of the show. Her character is immensely relatable throughout the quarter-ish life crisis where she realises that whilst her life is comfortably grown up, there’s so much she’s missing out on.

A drum kit dominates the playing space. Though Pitt-Carter occasionally uses it to good effect during her narration, it is underused considering its prominent position. Lydia Rynne’s monologue has a fairly conventional structure and an engaging story with good moments of suspense, but director Kay Michael only minimally employs the instrument to highlight the dramaturgical highs and lows.

This is undoubtedly a lot of great stuff going on in this production, but like Jess’s life, there’s a niggling feeling that it could do and be more.

Hear Me Howl runs through 3 February.

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