Coming Out Of My Cage (and I’ve been doing just fine), VAULT Festival

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by Matthew McGregor-Morales

Memes, mysteries and musical showboating – the indie karaoke anthem gets a very British tribute.

Tim and Hannah really want it all, so they pack nostalgic pleasure points, one after the other, into their tribute to the Killers’ breakthrough 00’s anthem. “Mr Brightside” hit the UK charts 16 years ago and it hasn’t left since, setting sweaty dancefloors, muddy fields and plush, well-lit living rooms into a comparable frenzy. And those are just my memories.

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[The Cobbled Streets of Geneva], VAULT Festival

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By Keagan Fransch

Adham is a bodyguard, steady and serious, and a stickler for propriety and safe proximity. Raushan is an excitable and curious Imam with a joy for life and an (almost) unshakeable positivity that’s hard to resist. On a rainy day in London, outside Raushan’s mosque, the two unlikely companions strike up a conversation that leads to an odd-couple friendship that changes and grows as they do. However, when Adham asks Raushan to pretend to be his husband (so that he can avoid being ‘set-up’ by his boss), their easy friendship is inevitably put to a difficult test.

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When the Sea Swallows Us Whole, VAULT Festival

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by Dora Bodrogi

Climate, sexuality, religion, growing up, friendship, abandonment, and cats come together in the dystopian yet quirky play. Natasha Collie invites us to a small seaside town on the verge of disappearing. As the coast erodes further and further, the waves and the merciless demolition authorities threaten the community’s homes. Coming of age in a place that is succumbing piece by piece to the sea is a strange experience.

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In My Lungs the Ocean Swells, VAULT Festival

In My Lungs The Ocean Swells_Jenny Walser_ Jack Brownbridge-Kelly_photo credit Oliver Bryant_3

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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Something Awful, VAULT Festival

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by Evangeline Cullingworth

Soph (Natalya Martin) and Jel (Monica Anne) are pouring over creepypasta horror stories at break time and catch the attention of Ellie (Melissa Parker), the new girl in school who wears her phone in her shirt pocket like a sheet of armor. Their interest become fixations, and what begins with giggles and goosebumps quickly reaches dramatic heights. Something Awful perfectly recreates some of the most memorable times at school, the battles fought over playground loyalties, the fanatic scrutiny of gossip and the stories told in ravishing detail. The breakneck thrill of the internet adds to this nostalgia to create a stomach dropping tragedy.

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Scenes With Girls, Royal Court

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by Laura Kressly

Lou and Tosh aren’t long out of uni. They’re housemates and best friends who share everything with each other, including their rejection of society’s expectation of young women to want a serious, monogamous relationship with a man. However, their opposing approaches cause some friction between them, people grow and change, and friendships between girls and women are extremely complex, so the feminist utopia they’re trying to create may not be as perfect as they hope.

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Dirty Crusty, The Yard

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by Laura Kressly

CW: sexual abuse, rape, suicide

Jeanine is in her early 30s and seems to have herself together, but her friends know better. Though she can hold down a job, a relationship and hobbies, she can’t manage to get a handle on cleanliness and hygiene. Not that this really comes across in this production, though. Jay Miller’s low-key, casual realism and a clean design contradict the filth that Jeanine is supposed to embody.

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Out of Sorts, Theatre503

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by Laura Kressly

Zara lives with Alice, her best friend from uni. They work for the same law firm and party with the same friends, but their similarities largely end there. Alice is white and from a wealthy family, whereas Zara’s parents are working class, Muslim refugees from the Middle East. The class and race differences between the two women add to the increasing pressure on Zara to live up to the opposing ideals of the two cultures she inhabits, making her feel out of place in both. But how long can she keep up this balancing act before the strain becomes too much to manage?

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We Anchor in Hope, The Bunker

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by Laura Kressly

It’s the last night to have a drink at the Anchor before it’s sold to developers who will turn it into luxury flats or a Pret A Manger. Landlord Kenny, his staff and a couple of locals are celebrating the end of an era by drinking the bar dry, but the more they drink, the more their secrets threaten to ruin the good memories of a local community.

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