Work Bitch, VAULT Festival

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by Joanna Trainor

Life is what happens to you while you’re busy making other plans.

Jessica Siân opens Work Bitch with an utterly manic laugh. The awful kind of laugh you develop when you have to laugh or you’ll cry. This is a proper tragicomedy at its core. The intelligent writing makes you laugh at these larger than life characters, all played by Siân, and then hits you with the added details – like the expression of the cook, who works every shift he can, when he thinks no one’s watching.

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Landscape (1989), VAULT Festival

by Joanna Trainor

Please, you’ve got to stop eating the floor mushrooms!

It’s 1989 in Oregon. Political scientist and author Francis Fukuyama has declared it the “End of History” as the Berlin Wall is pulled down and the Cold War is finished. And in the Malheur National Forest in Oregon, mushrooms are popping up all over the place.

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The Half Moon Shania, VAULT Festival

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By Joanna Trainor

Jill, Lola and Ketamine Kerry are on the precipice of greatness. Tonight will change their lives forever; a representative from Diamond Records is coming to see the G Stringz play at the Half Moon pub. If he likes them the band will be signed on the spot. That’s a lot of pressure for 18-year-olds, but these kick-ass women have got it covered. They will not apologise for the space they take up, and their songs are feminist anthems, surely they’ve got this in the bag.

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Monkeys Blood, Vault Festival

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by Laura Kressly

There’s a world of difference between London and the impoverished estates in Britain’s small towns. Mickey grew up on one in Hartlepool, a place famous for its historic execution of a monkey mistaken for a Frenchman, the more recent fraud case committed by John ‘Canoe Man’ Darwin, and not much else. Some of the town’s citizens maintain its xenophobic, monkey-slaughtering legacy in the form of anti-Muslim and anti-immigrant protests, even though they’ve never met anyone off the estate. Micky escaped these attitudes through a successful career as a children’s entertainer – or so he thought.

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Velvet, Vault Festival

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by Gregory Forrest

A red velvet chaise-lounge is a telling symbol. Positioned in the middle of the stage, the piece of furniture manages to evokes tacky luxury, softcore porn, and casting couch culture all at once. It is just one example of how smart Tom Ratcliffe’s one man show Velvet is.

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Inside Voices, VAULT Festival

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by Joanna Trainor

“Humans should fuck the men they want, move on, no hurt feelings.”

I recently went to a play written by a white man, with an entirely white, three quarters male cast and the audience was pretty reflective of that. Well, here’s a piece by a female South East Asian writer, starring three Asian women and the room looks like we’re actually sat in London.

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