Omelette, VAULT Festival

Omlette - Ali Wright-52

by Lizzie Jackson

In the dark and atmospheric Cavern at the Vaults, theatre company Long Distance present us with their first play, Omelette. It explores many of the important questions on the climate crisis. How far should we go to save the planet? How far is too far? Does it make a difference? Should we give up coffee forever?

Continue reading

How to Save a Rock, VAULT Festival

Image result for how to save a rock, vault festival

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.

Continue reading

I Don’t Know What to Do, VAULT Festival

Image result for I don't know what to do, vault festival

by Isabel Becker

New artistic company Creative Destruction bring forward a pertinent interrogation of the hypocrisies behind the climate crisis movement in their entertaining and moving play. Despite the laziness of the production’s title, which sounds like a draft idea that never quite made it to review (the play is still a work in progress), Zoe Lafferty’s autobiographical story of the 2019 climate protests certainly takes ownership of the theatre as a powerful vehicle for social change.

Continue reading

First Time, VAULT Festival

Image result for first time, vault festival

by Bryony Rae Taylor

In a manic pre-show ‘welcome’, Nathaniel Hall greets the audience with recently sniffed white powder falling down his face, dressing gown on, and in a bedroom strewn with the detritus from a recently concluded party. He’s overslept and he’s addressing his post-party headache with a heck of a lot of cocaine. It’s alarming.

‘We’re not in the Vauxhall Tavern anymore are we, Toto?’

Continue reading

This Bitch Can Heal, VAULT Festival

Vault_Festival.jpg

By Evangeline Cullingworth

Jack is hurtling forwards, desperately striving to fix mistakes from their childhood, arguments with their girlfriend, and now climate change. This movement needs them, and they need an excuse to keep moving. We meet Jack in the middle of the London Rebellion, the 10 days of peaceful civil disobedience organised by Extinction Rebellion in April last year. They jump onto their bicycle late at night and begin to hurtle forward, away from the scrutiny they’re under at home.

Continue reading

The Time of Our Lies, Park Theatre

Image result for lies, zinn park theatre

by Laura Kressly

When Howard Zinn was a bombardier in WWII, his plane was too high up to see the damage caused by the bombs he dropped. As a young academic after the war, he visited some of these places, rebuilt but with civilian trauma still fresh in survivors’ minds. These experiences cemented a life-long opposition to war and social injustice, manifested in activism, writing and scholarship. He believed that learning about history was the best way to avoid repeating it, and that listening to the stories from anyone other than the victors is crucial to that learning process.

Continue reading

The Abode, Edinburgh Festival Fringe

74ADB087-C099-487F-B984-0AFC18D9F6C0

By Laura Kressly

Imagine the world without the technological advances of the last few decades. No mobile phones, no internet, no ipods. Just Walkmans and two-way radios and clunky TV sets – but the political landscape is still the same. Where will all the incels gather without reddit?

Continue reading

Inside Pussy Riot, Saatchi Gallery

3843BC0D-D946-48DA-AA82-6C174C739686

by guest critic Maeve Campbell

The performance begins on entering the Saatchi Gallery, and we are asked to fill out questionnaires on preferences of social action. These are then used to tailor our experiences of the performance. We are led into a clinical waiting room, briefed and provided with balaclavas and protest signs. From there we are taken on a journey through Pussy Riot’s experience of the Russian judicial system and labour camps they were subjected to after they stormed Christ the Saviour Cathedral in Moscow in 2012.

Continue reading

Revolt. She Said. Revolt Again., Edinburgh Festival Fringe

https://cdn2.rsc.org.uk/sitefinity/images/productions/2016-shows/Making-Mischief/revolt-2016-production-photos/revolt-she-said-revolt-again-production-photos_-2016_2016_photo-by-richard-lakos-_c_-rsc_201024.tmb-gal-670.jpg?sfvrsn=1

Playwright Alice Birch wants to start a revolution. Revolt. She Said. Revolt Again. seeks to challenge the patriarchal language and social structures that hold woman second place to men. Being polite and socially acceptable isn’t going to achieve this, and the marketing material states that this play is not well behaved.The issue is that it is. The collection of scenarios with chaotic climax and resigned footnote of an ending starts out strong, but quickly loses sight of its goals through a lot of talking but few suggestions for effective action.

The first scene between a heterosexual couple is the most effective as he talks about all the things he wants to do to her body, and she corrects his language from one of his ownership to one of hers. The subject matter is provocative, funny and establishes a model that women can actually use. It’s not badly behaved, though – it’s polite, considerate and a bit uncomfortable, but not revolutionary. Subsequent scenes have less of a practical application; this isn’t a problem in and of itself, but these scenarios are much less of a catalyst in a show about taking action. There is some rejection of social convention, but little seen as radical. A culminating babble of voices largely indistinct from each other goes on entirely too long and due to the challenge of deciphering specific lines has little impact.

A cast of four, three women and one man, play a range of characters though disappointingly, the characters are middle class and English. Surely the issues that are presented – the language of sexual domination, consent, reproduction, family, flexible working – effect working class people as well.

Madeleine Girling keeps her set simple and efficient, using only items that are fully functional to each scene. Lighting designer Claire Gerrens creates angular, starkly delineated spaces that support the simple demand for equality and empowerment.

Birch certainly uses language well and constructs dynamic, interesting characters but the lack of much motivating material creates a lot of bluster with little change. The script also avoids any issues of intersectionality, particularly social class and race, even though one of the actors is black. Her goals are certainly admirable, but Revolt. She Said. Revolt Again.? More like have a chat and then carry on with your life.

Revolt. She Said. Revolt Again. runs through 28th August.

The Play’s the Thing UK is committed to covering fringe and progressive theatre in London and beyond. It is run entirely voluntarily and needs regular support to ensure its survival. For more information and to help The Play’s the Thing UK provide coverage of the theatre that needs reviews the most, visit its patreon.