Words Words Words, VAULT Festival

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by guest critic Alex Dowding

Grief is a funny and very human experience, and we all inevitably go through it in one way or another. Writer and performer Lowri Amies here examines her grief around the death of loved ones by diving headfirst into another love – that of Shakespeare.

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Testosterone, VAULT Festival

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by Meredith Jones Russell

Testosterone is an explosive, energetic, riotous exploration of all things male, asking what exactly it means to be a man.

Rhum and Clay Theatre Company has teamed up with Kit Redstone, who wrote the play based on his own experiences as a trans man, and stars as himself. We meet him as he prepares to walk in to that bastion of machismo – the men’s locker room at the gym – for the first time.

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Elsa, VAULT Festival

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by an anonymous guest critic

Isobel Rogers delivers a spectacular one-woman performance, collating humorous millennial moments and sharing them in a unique musical format. As the show opens Rogers takes on the persona of ‘Elsa’, a bored, overqualified waitress who is dreaming of a life beyond her bill-paying day job, where she can actually do the career which she has a degree in. This is certainly a scenario most of the creative audience can relate to.

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Providence, VAULT Festival

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by guest critic Tom Brocklehurst

We discover H P Lovecraft, cult horror writer from Providence, Rhode Island, standing on the banks of the Providence River in 1910 threatening to drown himself. In an It’s A Wonderful Life-style intervention, the ghost of Edgar Allen Poe (Dominic Allen) arrives to try to talk him around. We then flash forwards through the rest of Lovecraft’s life in this biographical comedy, with Poe helping him along the way.

It sounds like a strange idea for a play, but it’s a suitably bonkers device for a show about a weird man who wrote very weird tales.

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The Listening Room, Stratford East

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Can violent criminals be rehabilitated, and can their victims ever forgive them? The Listening Room says yes.

This verbatim piece tells the stories of three violent crimes, primarily from the perspective of the perpetrators. Some character background sets the scene for climactic moments where they commit their offences, but at least half of each of the five characters’ stories spotlights the rehabilitation process and mediation between the assailants and their victims.

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The Nassim Plays, Bush Theatre

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An actor stands on stage. They are handed a script they have never read before. A frank look at suicide, choice and learned behaviour unfolds after a menagerie of animal impressions.

An actor stands on stage. They are handed a script they have never read before. An hour of hilarious and revealing Mad Libs ensues.

An actor stands on stage. They are handed a script they have never read before. It’s a recipe that the actor must prepare whilst reflecting on the cultural importance and ritual of food.

An actor stands on stage. On the screen behind them, a script is projected they have never read before. Then there’s a live feed, a language lesson and a tender reflection on the meaning of home.

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