As elder Gen Zs approach their mid-20s, it makes sense that they turn to comedy to cope with what seems like the never-ending apocalyptic disasters plaguing their brief adulthood. Writer/comedian Rosalie Minnitt has tapped into her generation’s resulting anxiety by condensing what seems like all early-20-somethings’ tropes into an unhinged character piece set “sometime in the past”. Utterly bizarre and nonsensical, the title character is on an absurd quest to marry as soon as possible so that she avoids her parents disappearing her, but this is a thin narrative that’s really just a vehicle for Minnitt’s jokes.
This three-character play deals with the aftermath and grief following the disappearance of Gavin, Phoeb’s husband. She returns to the farm she grew up on, where her half-sister Jude and Jude’s husband Brian are trying to eek out a living, despite not being suited to being farmers. To cope with her grief, Phoeb believes Gavin has returned as a hummingbird, and starts building wings to join him in flight. However, the tensions between the trio soon begin to bubble to the surface.
Billed as a work-in-progress, this is a four-person play set in 17th century France, based on the true story of ‘La Voisin’, otherwise known as Catherine Montvoisin, a female poisoner who was said to have murdered thousands of people in Paris. The play centres around the concept of a police recreation of what happened when one of King Louis’s mistresses hires Montvoisin to make the king first fall in love with her, and then when that doesn’t work, to attempt to poison him. The four actors both act out the events of what was purported to happen during the time frame of the events in question, and in a metatheatrical twist, question the nature of the story being written and its validity.
Saint Hildegard von Bingen was a prolific polymath – a theologian who advised many religious higher-ups in the Catholic church, a composer, a writer of scientific and rhetorical works, a linguist, an abbess and a religious visionary. Though she lived over a millenium ago in the late 1000s and early 1100s and was – of course – largely at the whims of the men around her, she strove for more independence for herself and her nuns so they could worship how they best saw fit. A multigenerational ensemble use text, music and physical theatre to focus on this part of her life, positioning her as a liberating protofeminist in a strikingly beautiful, highly sensory piece.
In the most supportive of circumstances, grief can feel insurmountable. It’s even harder for a young queer Londoner whose family is in Zimbabwe. How does Takura ensure her Mbuya is mourned properly and what is her relationship to her ancestors, anyway? In a space somewhere between clubbing, Co-star, quantum physics and ancient rituals, she improvises building a bridge to the ancestral plane. A vulnerable and exposing struggle with borders and contrasting cultural norms, this is a considered reflection on how we deal with a loved one’s death.
In each of the three unrelated scenes that make up this triptych, a different Emily and an Emile tackle big ideas. Two flatmates argue about class privilege, a pair of flight attendants mull over love and confronting fears, and grief dominates the conversation between a man and his dead boyfriend’s sister. Each scene has some strong moments and the issues are prescient, but the writing quality varies and it’s unclear why these particular stories are produced together.
Recently unemployed and battling feelings of loneliness, Andrea explores casual dating for connection and distraction – mostly distraction. Tinder one-night-stands gradually evolve into exclusive sex parties. Dissecting a newfound sexual drive, Andrea probes a path that offers a soothing, exciting alternative to her seemingly crumbling life, but her boundary-pushing exploration soon reveals a story of addiction.
This is my first show at the Vault Festival, which has been on hiatus until now since the pandemic started in 2020. London’s version of the Edinburgh Festival Fringe, this is a wonderful festival in the tunnels underneath Waterloo station that hosts almost 2 months’ worth of new shows, cabaret and stand-up comedy.
Shakespeare depicts Richard II as an ineffective and selfish ruler with little regard for his people or country. Instead of ruling fairly, he wastes the country’s money on unnecessary wars and steals from citizens to recoup the costs. In director Annie McKenzie’s production, this results in a kingdom ridden with violence and poverty, signified by costumes little more than filthy rags, copious stage blood, and recurring fights. This concept largely works but is undermined by a slow start, unneeded movement sequences, and some inconsistent handling of the text. Though the second half dramatically improves, the first is somewhat baggy and lacking in urgency, reducing the cumulative impact of the whole.
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.