Vault Festival, London – until 12 February 2023
This is the story of an vlogger in a world where food is short, and you have to stay indoors. With a floor of objects that may or not be important to her, and a lot of tech, everything is an opportunity for followers and engagement.
The humble potato takes centre stage in this world where Tesco is still open and social networks flourish. The need for attention is not easy to handle when you go nowhere and you are all by yourself.
Apart from the opening scene, this show has no dialogue, music or special sound effects. It means that a lot is on the performer’s shoulders to keep the audience interested.
I would have liked to see the big screen used more, and perhaps to heard the song, not just see the lyrics (but I don’t know it, so might be in a minority). The last couple of sequences certainly connected with my old physics classes.
All By Myself leaves you wondering whether seeking validation from strangers is now the main driver for many. Despite the knowledge of her country’s situation, our influencer is wasteful and unwise.
One reason this show stood out to me in the Vault line-up was because of its intriguing setting. We know it is summer, because an August date shows on the computer screen, but we don’t know the year.
Lockdown may still suggest to many the service closures of the recent pandemic, but this seems more apoplectic, as basic amenities fail and communities disappear en masse.
This is a tightly written piece for the most part, but it may need a stronger ending and something for the audience to keep in mind throughout (I was wondering about a clock, or more pop-up alerts).
The question All By Myself leaves you asking is would you still be curating your personal life for just one online click if it was the end of the world?
Co-writers Charlotte Blandford (who also performs the piece) and Jessica Bickel-Barlow (who directs) have created an intriguing piece that shows that Part of the Main continues to explore the boundaries which drive fringe theatre.