Madame Ovary, VAULT Festival

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by Laura Kressly

Rosa’s been bloated and uncomfortable for about week, but she’s sure it’s nothing. She just needs to find some clothes that hide it, and are also suitable for a first date. A week after that, convinced the pain is something she’s eaten or trapped wind, she’s diagnosed with cancer. It’s 1 April 2018. She’s only 23 years old. Despite her hopes for it to be the year she sorts her life out, the reality is much more stark and scary.

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Notch, VAULT Festival

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by Dora Bodrogi

CW: war, migration, mental health, homelessness

How do you cope when the promise of the West turns out to be a city in the midst of a housing crisis, and you’re only one pay check away from homelessness? A.A. (Danaja Wass) doesn’t really know.

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The Place’s Young Critics review: Bicycles and Fish at VAULT Festival

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by Cara Lee

In the first of three one-woman shows performed by Katie Arnstein at the festival, she cleverly blends humour, emotion and the everyday sexism of our society to make powerful points. In this particular show, as she tells a story of “the day she became a feminist” as a teenager, she deftly weaves together women’s everyday experiences with the things everyone that age goes through, whilst adding a pinch of often ukulele-based comedy to lighten the tone of the whole thing.

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Frida Kahlo: Viva la Vida!, VAULT Festival

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by Bryony Rae Taylor

So many of us are guilty of idolising women without investing in their stories. Frida Kahlo’s memory is probably one of the most exploited in the art world. She’s on rucksacks; she’s on pencil cases; she’s perpetually immortalised on cotton tote bags. But how many of us have genuinely spent time learning about her? Maybe that’s too cynical, but the phrase ‘I love Frida Kahlo!’ has fallen out of my mouth on so many occasions when, actually, what do I know? Probably not enough.

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LOVE (Watching Madness), VAULT Festival

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By Hannah Kennedy

Mental illness isn’t portrayed often enough in theatre, especially discussion on how it effects those around it. LOVE (Watching Madness) is a beautifully apt title for this piece performed and written by Isabelle Kabban, and directed by Ruth Anna Phillips. It explores the history of Kabban’s relationship with her mother and, specifically, her mother’s Bipolar Disorder.

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Oddball, VAULT Festival

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By Grace Bouchard

“It’s a sexy song about eating.” Francesca Forrestal says to the front row, before Oddball begins. She’s referring to “Bon Appetite” by Katy Perry that plays on a pre-set loop. At the same time, she’s limbering up – swinging her arms, chatting nonchalantly with the audience, and building a familiar relationship she carries throughout the performance – when the show has begun and latecomers enter halfway through one of her speeches, she unflinchingly welcomes them and instantly settles back into the script as though nothing happened. The ease with which she captivates and holds the room is enchanting in itself.

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HOT (Helen of Troy), Cockpit Theatre

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by Laura Kressly

Like many teenage girls past and present, Amy is riddled with insecurity about her body to the point that she struggles to see her strengths. She wants so desperately to have everything that her best friend Ellie has – popularity, good looks and a date for the dance. Fortunately, Amy’s super pro-active so she’s gathered together everything she needs to cast a spell that will make her pretty. Things don’t go to plan though – instead of suddenly transforming into a conventionally attractive girl, she summons an unexpected guest.

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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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