LOVE (Watching Madness), VAULT Festival

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By Hannah Kennedy

Mental illness isn’t portrayed often enough in theatre, especially discussion on how it effects those around it. LOVE (Watching Madness) is a beautifully apt title for this piece performed and written by Isabelle Kabban, and directed by Ruth Anna Phillips. It explores the history of Kabban’s relationship with her mother and, specifically, her mother’s Bipolar Disorder.

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Collapsible, Bush Theatre

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by Laura Kressly

Essie’s fine. Her job search is going well, she has savings in the bank, her friends and family are nearby. But she doesn’t know how to describe herself in interviews, spends way too much time online, and recently split up with her girlfriend. Her big and exciting world is shrinking, and her body feels more and more like it’s not her won.

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Feature |A Director at Work

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by Laura Kressly

Two women are sitting on the floor in the corner of a north London pub’s function room. One gently rocks a chair back and forth with her hands, while the other one watches. The former is quietly focused, the latter grins and nods encouragingly.

If this moment was photographed, it would be difficult to identify the reality of what’s happening. I’d probably guess it was two friends chatting about something quite serious. Most – if not all – womxn would recognise the relaxed yet vulnerable postures that are often adopted when close friends are sharing something sensitive or important, usually curled up on a sofa with a glass of wine or cup of tea in hand. The image evokes a warming feeling of comfort that comes from knowing you are completely heard and valued, and freeing to know you can say anything in these moments of safety and support.

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The Archive of Educated Hearts, VAULT Festival

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by Emma Lamond

The Archive of Educated Hearts shows a steely determination to deliver a hopeful and uplifting whirlwind tour through the lives of four women affected by breast cancer.  Casey Jay Andrews presents this deeply personal, yet painfully universal, experience with the utmost kindness and calm. This provides the audience with a space to celebrate the women who make up the narrative of the piece, and also take time to reflect on their own experiences of cancer.

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Cassie and the Lights, VAULT Festival

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by Becky Lennon

This story, based on real-life events, follows the lives of three sisters – Cassie (Alex Brain), Tin (Michaela Murphy) and Kit (Emily McGlynn) – after their mother disappears at a bowling alley. Although the piece focuses on the teenage perspective of the British care system, it also acknowledges the differences within individual families, the value of these differences, and invites us to ask, what makes a family?

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NOW week 1, The Yard

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by Laura Kressly

The Yard is at the forefront of innovative theatre and performance in London, and their NOW festival aims to share some of the most cutting-edge and relevant work being made, well, right now. Week Two presents Ultimate Dancer and Julie Cunningham’s fire bird, a double bill of striking visuals and classical music, with very different moods and styles.

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Tarot, VAULT Festival

 

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By Matthew McGregor-Morales

“We’re going to go with intuition”, Ruby Wednesday tells a lady from Chiswick, as ambience-maestros Yoshi peel out the start of a haunting, rhythmic dive into minor keys and mayhem. Returning to VAULT Festival after a break-out 2019 run, The Feathers of Daedalus have taken Tarot up a notch, blending their signature circus and dance performances with audience readings and a soul funk soundtrack with climaxes a-plenty.

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Sold, VAULT Festival

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by Laura Kressly

In 1831, Mary Prince’s autobiography was the first book published in the UK about a Black woman. Her straightforward, emotive prose shares her lived experience of being an enslaved woman in the West Indies and England in great detail, including numerous accounts of abuse. This two-woman show embraces it all, packing this story of family separation, numerous masters, and a quest for freedom into an hour. Dance, music and ritual are embedded into the dramaturgy, too – this is a dense show, but one telling an important story that’s exquisitely performed.

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All Wrapped Up, Stratford Circus

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by Laura Kressly

Oily Cart makes gently immersive, highly sensory performances for people under five years old, and people with complex needs. This winter-themed touring show for little ones takes them into a world of colourful lights, dark shadows and sparkly parcels that reveal an array of treasure, from reams of bubble wrap, to coloured lights to a magnificent puppet constructed out of cellophane. As lights dim and glow amidst the white drapes and shimmering cushions, children are invited to explore the tactile, etherial landscape that evokes the the wonder of unwrapping presents on a snowy Christmas morning.

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Fix, Pleasance Theatre

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by Laura Kressly

Kevin arrives at his last call-out for the day, a dilapidated house in the middle of a forest near where he grew up. Li Na presents him with a washing machine that no longer spins, but as Kevin attempts to repair it, there are obvious hints that the machine isn’t the only thing that’s broken. Intertwining mythical and personal histories, Julie Tsang’s horror story is a compelling blend of the supernatural and the real.

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