How to Save a Rock, VAULT Festival

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by Jade Pathak

What does it look like when you mix ethical, underground theatre with a Disney-esque musical that follows a heroic, Greta Thunberg-type, a gardener and an enigmatic polar bear? Well, Pigfoot Theatre show us, and it’s a whirlwind of fun for all ages with a live, whimsical score. Sharp, funny and informative, something special has been created here, and the care and love for this production is visible from every detail, from the bike powered lighting strips, to the recycled tin cans.

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Dual, VAULT Festival

by Laura Kressly

Peyvand Sadeghian was born in Canning Town, and East London runs through her veins. Yet, there’s also the scent of something else, from somewhere far away – rose water and pomegranate, from an ancient civilisation the western world loves to demonise. She doesn’t give this much thought until she is 10 years old and first travels to Iran with her father. This is a turning point in her life; it’s when she finds she is not just one person, but two. As well as Peyvand the Londoner, she’s also Parisa the Persian girl. These two identities are set in opposition in this deliberately messy collage about having multiple citizenships and identities, and embedded with a spirit of revolution.

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Jekyll and Hyde, VAULT Festival

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by Zahid Fayyaz

This is certainly something different to the majority of the festival’s shows: rather than a traditional show, it is a scavenger hunt/immersive promenade show, put on by establishedcompany Fire Hazard games. Based on the famous Robert Louis Stevenson story and pop culture icon, this show puts you and your smartphone in a quest to find out what is behind your missing memories from the night before. You can enjoy it solo, or in a group up to 3 people, but it certainly requires a lot of walking, and decent weather certainly helps.

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How We Love, VAULT Festival

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by Dora Bodrogi

“But it’s getting better, right?”

This is the question I get the most often when I mention institutionalised homophobia in a country I’ve left, Hungary. And it’s not so bad there in this regard, they ‘only’ have a ban on marriage equality, same-sex joint adoption, and Gender Studies. After all, a Pride march isn’t the same without skinheads booing from the cordons, and pulling out of Eurovision because it doesn’t agree with traditional national values (read: because it’s too gay). It could be worse.

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The Place’s Young Critics review: Sexy Lamp at VAULT Festival

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by Cara Lee

Much like Bicycles and Fish, the first show Katie Arnstein performed at the festival, Sexy Lamp is a perfect mix of wit, emotion and more serious points, that reflect both her own experiences and the experiences of the majority of women with misogyny, perfectly. In this show, the second of her trilogy It’s A Girl!, she moves on to her first experiences trying to make it in London in the world of acting, once again discussing her struggles against misogyny.

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Madame Ovary, VAULT Festival

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by Laura Kressly

Rosa’s been bloated and uncomfortable for about week, but she’s sure it’s nothing. She just needs to find some clothes that hide it, and are also suitable for a first date. A week after that, convinced the pain is something she’s eaten or trapped wind, she’s diagnosed with cancer. It’s 1 April 2018. She’s only 23 years old. Despite her hopes for it to be the year she sorts her life out, the reality is much more stark and scary.

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Notch, VAULT Festival

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by Dora Bodrogi

CW: war, migration, mental health, homelessness

How do you cope when the promise of the West turns out to be a city in the midst of a housing crisis, and you’re only one pay check away from homelessness? A.A. (Danaja Wass) doesn’t really know.

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Atlantic, VAULT Festival

10by Joanna Trainor

I love an illuminated umbrella. All shows could be improved by a light-up umbrella.

Somewhere beyond the sea, Emma waits on the shoreline by the Golden Gate Bridge, and PJ looks out from some of England’s slightly less famous white cliff faces. At face value this is a story about a long-distance relationship and the struggles you face when you’re in one. But more than that it’s about isolation, dependence and the ties we have to other people. There are sections that are a little obscure, and the performance takes a while to warm up, but the underlying theme will always pull you back in.

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The Place’s Young Critics review: Bicycles and Fish at VAULT Festival

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by Cara Lee

In the first of three one-woman shows performed by Katie Arnstein at the festival, she cleverly blends humour, emotion and the everyday sexism of our society to make powerful points. In this particular show, as she tells a story of “the day she became a feminist” as a teenager, she deftly weaves together women’s everyday experiences with the things everyone that age goes through, whilst adding a pinch of often ukulele-based comedy to lighten the tone of the whole thing.

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A Pattern of Bad Behaviour, VAULT Festival

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by Zahid Fayyaz

This is a new two-hander from Clown Funeral, a West Midlands based company who are also associates artists of the New Diorama Theatre, a hotbed for new work. It tells a slightly twisted tale of two strangers who meet, fight, and then form a friendship. This companionship is one based on a connection which neither quite seems to be able to express into words, but rather by attacking each other.

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