Violet, Vault Festival

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by Laura Kressly

Bertie has lost her job, her boyfriend and her flat. She’s broke and drifting through life without direction or purpose when her cousin asks her to housesit her coastal town home for a few months. Whilst struggling with her depression and out for a walk one night, she collides with an elderly woman who changes the course of Bertie’s life. Bebe Sander’s story of intergenerational friendship between two women forgotten by the rest of the world is funny, sweet and unexpectedly disarming.

Sanders also performs the monologue, which she executes with the unpredictable energy of the bonfire Bertie stokes with Violet. Bertie totally alters and grows up over the course of the show, and Sanders effectively captures the minutiae of change over the months that the story takes place. She makes each moment sparkle with possibility whilst simultaneously threatening to ruin these women’s lives.

Director Ellie Gauge’s work is most noticeable in the design choices. Taped-up cardboard boxes and a few small items of furniture are neatly stacked at the beginning, but gradually shift and change like sand dunes and the characters themselves. It’s a great metaphor for the transformation that Violet and Bertie undergo over the course of their friendship.

It’s no wonder this little show received such acclaim in Edinburgh. Though unassuming on the surface, the world these two characters inhabit is utterly compelling and Sanders paints a convincing portrait of the woman who transforms her life. Violet wholly captures the power of storytelling and its power to move.

Violet runs through 3 February.

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