If This Is Normal, VAULT Festival

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by Zahid Fayyaz

This is a three-person play, following the lives and loves of a brother and sister, and their best friend, from when they first meet at school, to after graduation, to university. Along the way, their close friendship is threatened by various events and miscommunications.  Developed with support from the Soho Theatre development labs, this is a punchy and kinetic show, in which the hour passes by in – almost – the blink of an eye.

The cast is uniformly excellent, with Aoife Smith as Alex particularly standing out with her sensitive portrayal of a young woman struggling with her burgeoning sexuality and social mores. The dialogue is punchy and realistic, with the plot developing in surprising ways. The cast generally stick to playing the same characters, with a little variation for minor supporting characters within the story. One small issue is that the music during the club scenes is much too loud and drowns out the dialogue on stage, which is far from ideal. Generally the show is very enjoyable, but could also do with a little bit more depth added to some of the themes being explored.

There are no more performances in the current run, but with a bit of an update, this show could easily have a longer run elsewhere. It’s certainly one to keep an eye out for, wherever and whenever it comes back on stage in the future.

If This Is Normal runs through 28 February.

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