Everybody Cares Everybody Understands, VAULT Festival

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by Emma Lamond

Poor mental health can make us horrible people, and nobody talks enough about it. This play does just that with nuance and painful realism.

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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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NUMB, VAULT Festival

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by Brad Tutt

Just before entering the theatre, a member of the company comes out to brief the audience. He there will be a joint audience and company discussion after the performance. This evokes a feeling that we are about to be confronted with something unexpected, which is proved right – by the company performing a live cover of a Rage Against the Machine song.

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VOiD, VAULT Festival

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by Isabel Becker

Slick, smart and penetrating: Sophia Capasso’s play provides an incredibly strong performance of psychological terror that leaves hearts racing to the rhythm of her words. The story of young Ali’s cyclical descent into trauma – with the end of the play neatly bringing us back to its opening sequence – is told with not just fervent passion, but striking dramatic professionalism.

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Eigengrau, Waterloo East Theatre

Katie Buchholz and Callum Sharp in Eigengrau at the Waterloo East Theatre

by Laura Kressly

Penelope Skinner’s 2010 play feels like it’s bursting at the seams with damaged – and damaging – people, but there’s only four of them. Cassie works for a feminist charity and can barely contain her rage against the patriarchy. Her flatmate Rose believes in fairies, numerology and fate but is less concerned with holding down a job and paying rent. Mark owns a flat in Chiswick, works in marketing and is capable of extraordinarily disgusting misogyny and casual homophobia. Then there’s his flatmate Tim, a uni mate who wants to be a carer and is grieving the recent death of his grandmother. The combination of these four personalities could easily lend itself to sitcom-type comedy, but instead they create a perfect storm of dramatic chaos after Rose and Mark start sleeping together.

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Jade City, The Bunker

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by Laura Kressly

When Sas and Monty were kids, the world was full of possibility and adventure. Now that they’re grown, poverty, loneliness and their pasts have trapped them in Belfast, barely able to leave their flats. Infantilised by unemployment, they stay in and play pretend like they did as children. Whether its as bin men, Cuban revolutionaries or global travellers, The Game lets them ignore the harsh reality of the social and economic systems keeping them down. In Alice Malseed’s play, the past, present and imagined flow into each other like the lads’ days do, but Sas thinks its time they grow up.

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