AI Love You, VAULT Festival

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by guest critic Serena Ramsey

As an audience member, I always love when the actors break the fourth wall I love to feel immersed in the world. Within the play. AI Love You not only immerses us in a world surrounded by Amazon Echoes, drones and hover boards, but gives the audience the chance to dictate the plays structural direction. The power is completely within the hands of the onlookers who are given the role of jury and critics in this snappy and deeply moving play.

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The Grift, Bethnal Green Town Hall

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by guest critic Tom Brocklehurst

On arrival at Bethnal Green Town Hall, we are split into groups, given a key each, and then given the opening spiel. Ben, a secret love child of Michael Caine and Marilyn Monroe, was raised by the hotel staff in the 60s at the behest of its owner to save the stars from a scandal.

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Julius Caesar, The Bridge Theatre

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by Laura Kressly

Last summer, New York’s Shakespeare in the Park made international news with its production of Julius Caesar, updated to contemporary America with Caesar looking rather suspiciously like Trump. When the right wing press got wind of it, protests outside the theatre ensued.

Fortunately, this is much less likely at Nick Hytner’s similarly Trumpified Caesar. Unfortunately, his look at the devision between the ignorant, poor right and educated, middle class left is a simplistic and occasionally wildly inaccurate comparison to real life partisan policies.

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Den, Shoreditch Town Hall

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by guest critic Rebecca JS Nice

After working on Tristan Sharps’ Absent at The Shoreditch Town Hall in 2015, I have been given an education in the building’s rich maze of ballrooms and basements, shiny bars and crusty corridors, peeling paint and underground nooks and crannies that both delight and disorientate in equal measure. Dream Think Speak Company did just that, honouring the architecture of the building in a site specific work that set a precedent for work to come. As the evening of May 4th unfolds it seems that Cass Arts are unaware of their sophisticated forbears when they claim to produce “site-specific performances and installations on the themes of secrecy and disguise” in Den. As contemporary immersive theatre expands from the spectacle of Punch Drunk to the intimacy of Sheila Ghelani, Cass Arts have widely missed the context in which they have placed themselves.

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The Lock In, VAULT Festival

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It’s St Patrick’s Day at an Irish pub in London. We’ve been there for awhile, but the night is young. There’s a five-strong band more focused on arguing the facts of Irish history than playing music. This becomes the story – drunken frontman Eamonn (Ian Horgan) attempts to tell us the story of the venerable saint. Numerous diversions, interaction, songs and plenty of banter follows a convoluted path through the power of storytelling, national identity and the veracity of history.

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