Rain Pours Like Coffee Drops, VAULT Festival

by Diana Miranda

Amidst VAULT Festival’s craziness, The Motion Packs’ movement-led work casts a contemplative spell, causing reflection on the effects of having obsessive, work-driven lives. This one-man physical theatre piece brews slowly, with contemporary dance accompanied by a soundscape combining poetic audio clips, instrumental scores led by the eerie resonance of a piano, and calming sounds of nature. The show has English and Welsh versions, and I experienced it in the latter. While the Cavern’s acoustics and a poorly-equalised volume make it difficult to understand the poetry, the dreamlike soundscape and a soft, unhurried voice create a comforting aural experience, even for non-Welsh-speakers.

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Thirsty, VAULT Festival

by Laura Kressly

Sara is in her mid-30s and feeling lost. Newly single after a transformational yet difficult relationship, she looks to her friends for support and inspiration about how not to live her life. They’re all mired in a cishet lifestyle filled with husbands, kids, and yoga. Sara, still desperately missing her ex, knows she doesn’t want these things but somehow has to move on and find a life that’s a perfect fit.

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The Ballerina, VAULT Festival

by Laura Kressly

Colin Clutterbuck, a British diplomat stationed in an unnamed African nation, is arrested and accused of supporting the president’s opposition with the aim of starting civil war. Clutterbuck claims her community outreach work fosters democracy and civic responsibility amongst the country’s citizens, newly freed from a dictatorship. Her captor, Pacifique Muamba, uses western imperialist techniques of torture to get her to admit what he thinks is the truth.

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Delta P, VAULT Festival

by Laura Kressly

It’s 2051 and the world is, of course, in the midst of a climate catastrophe. Floods, fires, and record temperatures are ravaging the planet worse than ever. In a diving bell descending to the floor of the North Sea, three men work on an oil rig. Pressure mounts – and pressure mounts – the lower they get, and their technology and mental health begin to fail.

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Sad-Vents, VAULT Festival

By Luisa De la Concha Montes

Taking the cam-girl to a whole new level, Sad-Vents follows Eleanor Hill as she broadcasts her life journey to her Instagram followers from her messy bedroom. Surrounded by girly paraphernalia (condom wrappers, pregnancy tests, magazines, and the sweaters of her exes), Eleanor takes us on a 75-minute long monologue which explores topics such as abuse, loss, toxic relationships and sexuality through the lens of dark comedy. The title is entirely adequate; imitating the self-indulgent and voyeuristic nature of online venting, the play invites us to reflect on the consequences, trivialities and dangers of online commodification.

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All Falls Down, VAULT Festival

by Laura Kressly

Storytelling – the simple kind where a small group of people sit in the dark and simply share wild and wonderful tales – is an inherent part of being human. In this instance, combining this instinct with improvisation, and audience interaction results in a story following a group of friends trying to find their way out of a plane crash. The audience is the group of friends, and Joe Strickland quietly narrates the set-up. Soon, Strickland introduces a chose-your-own-adventure type of moment that leads to many more. The concept is fun and the audience enthusiastically engages, but the execution raises questions about audience autonomy and the limits of improv.

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Caceroleo, VAULT Festival

by Laura Kressly

In the wake of the #MeToo movement, the theatre industry interrogated rehearsal room dynamics and called for them to become ‘safe spaces’ where people are free from abuse. Whether or not productive change has actually occurred is up for debate, but this show proclaims that the concept of a safe rehearsal is highly subjective – what is safe for one person may not be for another. In this energetic and highly sensorial piece, actor/writer Rhys Hastings considers how growing up in an abusive home impacts all aspects of his life, including his acting work.

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Don’t Leave Me This Way, VAULT Festival

by Laura Kressly

Ildiko is half German and half Hungarian. Rosie is half English and half Irish. The two women explore what this might mean, along with how culture, ancestry and migration, make us who we are. Their journey takes the form of an elegant cabaret similar to vintage variety TV shows. Traditional music and folk songs intersperse poignant extracts of personal narrative to make this moving patchwork of stories and anecdotes that make them who they are.

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In Clay, VAULT Festival

by Zahid Fayyaz

This is my first show at the Vault Festival, which has been on hiatus until now since the pandemic started in 2020. London’s version of the Edinburgh Festival Fringe, this is a wonderful festival in the tunnels underneath Waterloo station that hosts almost 2 months’ worth of new shows, cabaret and stand-up comedy.

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