Sugar Coat, VAULT Festival

by Ali Wright

by Zahid Fayyaz

As the audience enters the venue, a band is onstage waiting. The five-piece, all-woman band stays there the whole time, playing punk rock in between performing the play’s scenes. They tell the story of eight years from a girl’s life spent growing up, falling in love, making a mistake, and her life falling apart due to horrific things happening to her. She then attempts the long road to recovery, with the help of her mother and therapist.

Whilst it seems grim, this is in fact a very funny play. There is plenty of sparkling and witty dialogue, and the actor-musicians portraying the various characters and their quirks in a very engaging way. Some of the one-liners and asides are laugh-out-loud funny, and there is a warmth and humanity to proceedings which elevated the serious themes.

As performers, the band are tight in their Le Tigre and Verruca Salt inspired music. The songs played are very well done and well-written, but unfortunately the sound is a little echoey in places, which robs them of their power and effect. However, overall this is a great play, that deals with some moving and emotional topics in a sensitive way, with an excellent mix of drama and comedy. It’s only on for a few more days here, but I’m sure that it will have a long and happy life afterwards.

Sugar Coat runs through 15 March.

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