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

Vault_Festival.jpg

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.

Continue reading

Bicycles and Fish, VAULT Festival

Image result for bicycles and fish, vault festival

by Bryony Rae Taylor

Katie Arnstein’s show Sexy Lamp tears down the acting industry, its gendered prejudices,  its inclination to dispose of women and to objectify them, all in the space of an hour. She is eloquent, gentle, and the show packs a long-lasting impact.

Continue reading

Frida Kahlo: Viva la Vida!, VAULT Festival

Image result for frida kahlo, vault festival

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.

Continue reading

Oddball, VAULT Festival

4271FE7E-5591-48D0-A5F0-0C791F206B3F

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.

Continue reading

Ask Me Anything, VAULT Festival

E980DE66-3399-45CB-B465-0C7A23D55BD7

by Meredith Jones Russell

Georgie Coles, Rosie Doonan and Kylie Perry asked young people across the UK, born and brought up on Whatsapp, Google and Instagram, to write in and ask them anything, anything at all. They then created Ask Me Anything to provide them with some answers.

Continue reading

Bible John, VAULT Festival

Image result for bible john, vault festival

by Grace Bouchard

You know these women, the four office temps sitting at a shared desk. Unnamed and anonymous, they go about their days inputting data into spreadsheets, quietly offering cups of tea to those who might like one. They don’t give too much of themselves away to anyone around them. It is the nature of their job to be useful and to fade into the background.

Continue reading

Patricia Gets Ready (for a date with the man that used to hit her), VAULT Festival

26DFA1BA-6D55-46D5-A0C6-7D1B9238A177

By Becky Lennon

content warning: discussions of domestic violence

Patricia has spent the past year constructing the perfect speech to deliver to the man who used to hit her. Patricia now has to decide if she is going to go have dinner with him, what she is going to say, how she is going to say this, as well as what she is going to wear.

Continue reading

What the Dolls Saw, VAULT Festival

Image result for what the dolls saw, vault festival

by Laura Kressly

A master doll-maker has died, leaving behind a fractious and fragmented family. His widow is a nostalgic former actor, his eldest daughter Christine is a lesbian true-crime podcaster from his first marriage, middle daughter Zara is a petty criminal living in the US, and his youngest, Meg, is a children’s book author. As they gather for the funeral, Christine reminds them of their long-missing Aunt Lily, mum’s twin. Now that their tyrannical father is dead, it’s the perfect time to get to the bottom of her disappearance.

Continue reading

Something Awful, VAULT Festival

Image result for something awful, vault festival

by Evangeline Cullingworth

Soph (Natalya Martin) and Jel (Monica Anne) are pouring over creepypasta horror stories at break time and catch the attention of Ellie (Melissa Parker), the new girl in school who wears her phone in her shirt pocket like a sheet of armor. Their interest become fixations, and what begins with giggles and goosebumps quickly reaches dramatic heights. Something Awful perfectly recreates some of the most memorable times at school, the battles fought over playground loyalties, the fanatic scrutiny of gossip and the stories told in ravishing detail. The breakneck thrill of the internet adds to this nostalgia to create a stomach dropping tragedy.

Continue reading

The Archive of Educated Hearts, VAULT Festival

Image result for the archive of educated hearts, vault festival

by Emma Lamond

The Archive of Educated Hearts shows a steely determination to deliver a hopeful and uplifting whirlwind tour through the lives of four women affected by breast cancer.  Casey Jay Andrews presents this deeply personal, yet painfully universal, experience with the utmost kindness and calm. This provides the audience with a space to celebrate the women who make up the narrative of the piece, and also take time to reflect on their own experiences of cancer.

Continue reading