Zoo, VAULT Festival

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by Maxine Smiles

As reporters all over the country zip themselves into their waterproofs to stand in front of wheelie bins that have fallen over in the wake of Storm Jorge, down in the Vaults it’s Hurricane Jonas that is clogging up the airwaves. CNN are filming in the Cherokee Valley Zoo, and have picked the animal handler Bonnie (Lily Bevan) to guide them her day as she prepares the animals for a troubled night.

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Omelette, VAULT Festival

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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?

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How to Save a Rock, VAULT Festival

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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.

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In My Lungs the Ocean Swells, VAULT Festival

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by Fergus Church

It’s a strange thing to hear the sea when you’re 40 odd miles from it, sat on a wooden bench underneath train tracks and footsteps.

A blue tarpaulin. Plastic crates. The stuff of seafarers.

The dampness in the underground air acquires a salty tang.

The high brick walls crag themselves into cliffs embracing a beach.

The sea suddenly feels close.

We are sat around in the half-dark, waiting for something to happen, the tide to come in at dusk.

Then the blueness is unfurled and the waves are lapping at our toes.

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This Bitch Can Heal, VAULT Festival

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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.

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How to Save a Rock, Edinburgh Festival Fringe

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By Meredith Jones Russell

An earnest entreaty to save our planet, How to Save a Rock is a hugely well-intentioned and charming play which just slightly runs out of steam. It’s packed full of other forms of energy, however, as the whole show claims to be carbon neutral, powered by an on-stage bike and solar power.

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3 Billion Seconds, Vault Festival

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by Laura Kressly

The average baby born in Britain today will live for three billion seconds. They will be responsible for contributing approximately 58.6 tonnes of carbon to the environment. As such, climate scientists widely agree that not having children at all or having one less child than originally planned will have a significant effect on pollution levels. Climate change activists Daisy and Michael know this, and advocate for reducing the population in their environmentalism talks they give around the country – but what happens when they fall pregnant?

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Landscape (1989), VAULT Festival

by Joanna Trainor

Please, you’ve got to stop eating the floor mushrooms!

It’s 1989 in Oregon. Political scientist and author Francis Fukuyama has declared it the “End of History” as the Berlin Wall is pulled down and the Cold War is finished. And in the Malheur National Forest in Oregon, mushrooms are popping up all over the place.

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The Children, Manhattan Theatre Club

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by NY guest critic Steven Strauss

American dramaphiles tend to view Britain as a hotbed of hyper-verbal and hyper-intellectual plays, especially in comparison to our home-bred musicals that often lack the same resonant depth. This is of course a gross over-generalization with countless exceptions, but personally, I became a card-carrying theatrical anglophile thanks to the massive transatlantic influx of Stoppardian texts in which characters talk talk talk about Serious and Important Ideas.

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The Toxic Avenger, Arts Theatre

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I’ve seen sexist theatre. I’ve seen ableist theatre. But it’s rare to come across a show that is so openly and unashamedly both of these things.

Even more frustrating, these aspects of the story are heightened and played for laughs. There’s no commentary or condemnation, just the worst parts of cult movies rolled into one superhero story reliant on anti-women stereotypes. The performances are excellent and there are some great tunes, but the overtly offensive storyline overwhelms any of the production’s positive aspects.

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