Orangutan, VAULT Festival and online

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by Grace Bouchard

When she was three years old, Alice fell into an orangutan enclosure. Now, as a 24-year-old woman, she recounts the story directly to us, though she makes a point to let us know she doesn’t tell people this story often. Years of being called ‘Monkey Girl’ in school has scarred her somewhat, despite the fact that orangutans are not monkeys – they are apes – something Alice reminds us of frequently throughout.

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Notflix, VAULT Festival

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by Bryony Rae Taylor

Notflix is performed by an all-women musical improv troupe. They ask audiences to suggest a film which has not yet been made into a musical, so that they can make it into a musical – and then they make it into a musical.

The film on the night I am there is The Holiday, the one where Kate Winslet and Cameron Diaz house swap and LOVE HAPPENS. You know the one.

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Stages, VAULT Festival

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by Bryony Rae Taylor

This is an ambitious, interactive new video-game inspired musical, melding a tale of the trials and tribulations of a contemporary family with an 8-bit video game aesthetic. Each audience member is given a ‘controller’ (a bit of card which is blue on one side and red on the other), and at certain points in the narrative, they gets a say in what direction the plot turns. Towards the latter part of the show, the narrative rewinds and you see all of the alternative paths that could have been taken.

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Two Super Super Hot Men, VAULT Festival

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By Evangeline Cullingworth

Hidden away in a soundproofed studio, two moustached men defy Mother Nature. Foley art is shrouded in a sexy mystery. I hear fire crackling, but I see Greggs wrapper. I hear glaciers melting, but I see pinecone. It doesn’t make sense and if I think about it for too long I get sweaty and nervous.

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Pigeons on L’edge, VAULT Festival

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By Evangeline Cullingworth

Humans stuck in the horrors of a customer-facing job can rest safe in the knowledge that they are being protected by a fleet of pigeons. What did you think they were doing perched out there on the windowsill all day? They are obviously keeping watch over us.  In their time, these pigeons have seen a lot. And what an honour it is to spend an evening with Prue and Priscilla, two talented nest-mates, as they dramatized the thrills of their espionage.

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The Brief Life and Mysterious Death of Boris III, King of Bulgaria: Part The First, VAULT Festival

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By Zahid Fayyaz

Here’s a slice of history from Out of the Forest Theatre, set during World War Two. It follows the story of King Boris the Third, who allied with Nazi Germany for geopolitical reasons, but wanted to keep Bulgaria out of the fighting and his Jewish citizens safe as much as possible. This story is told with the use of dramatic recreations of what we are told are true events, with Bulgarian Folk tunes peppered throughout the performance.

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Dig, VAULT Festival

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by Amber Pathak

Standing in a storage container at the top of Leake Street, mud squishing beneath my trainers, I hear a man softly singing. This is it, I think, this is how I am going to die, trying to tunnel my way out onto the streets of Waterloo. A second man appears from the corner and started up a dialogue. I am immediately relieved; I would not be doing any digging.

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Freedom Hi, VAULT Festival

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by Amber Pathak

Making a show political without feeling like a rant is a tough nut to crack; too much seriousness and you’re the news, not enough and you look misguided. The company Papergang Theatre make it look easy. They’ve incorporated just about every performance medium: dance poetry, lecture, video. This is proof that less is not always more.

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Sugar Coat, VAULT Festival

by Ali Wright

by Zahid Fayyaz

As the audience enters the venue, a band is onstage waiting. The five-piece, all-woman band stays there the whole time, playing punk rock in between performing the play’s scenes. They tell the story of eight years from a girl’s life spent growing up, falling in love, making a mistake, and her life falling apart due to horrific things happening to her. She then attempts the long road to recovery, with the help of her mother and therapist.

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