Shovel, tip, repeat. The monotony on Robben Island continues, a worthless activity that Winston (Edward Dede) and John (Mark Springer) carry out simply because they looked the wrong way at a prison guard that morning. In the first fifteen minutes of The Island, John Terry highlights the crushing futility of existence as Winston and John labour to physical exhaustion.
David Henry Hwang’s Chinglish looks at the crossover between the Westernised and Chinese cultures, both in business, in marriage and in dedication to one’s partner. For all it promotes itself as a light-hearted comedy, there are some deeply rooted messages about the differences between the two traditions and the arrogance of Western society to assume that China will simply conduct itself in accordance with Anglo-American customs.
A quote by Naguib Mahfouz resonates with Ellams’ story, “Home is not where you are born; home is where all your attempts to escape cease”. Ellams and his tightknit family are constantly attempting to escape, to belong.
Viki Browne devotes a show to the memory of her grandmother – people grieve in different ways and for Browne this is her way of processing. The Gran Show is a work in progress and Browne is understandably nervous at the start of her show.
It may be Kate (Nesba Crenshaw) sat at the head of the runway on a platform, studying us, judging us, undressing us, but we know that Tom Brennan’s inspiration for this character is Anna Wintour.
Joe Sellman-Leava opens Labels with quotes from Nigel Farage, Katie Hopkins, Nick Griffin, Idi Amin and Donald Trump, to name but a few. In the first 2 minutes the audience are hit with a barrage of racial abuse, mandates to force out the immigrants and send them back as if trying to prevent an alien invasion.
Two women meet and fall in love whilst engaging in a spot of dogging, the start to every classic fairytale. Well, it is in Puppy at least, a work in progress by Naomi Westerman.
Kings is my pick of The Vaults Festival 2017. There, I said it. A bold opening statement, but sometimes it’s easier just to blurt these things out straight away, no messing about.
The stage is ramshackle, full of cardboard boxes stacked haphazardly around that provide an insight into Gareth’s unorganised, potentially unhinged mind. But he hangs onto the things that are important.
Deborah Pearson sits behind a desk, with a black and white 1950s foreign film playing in the background, reminding us that this film could easily be amongst the series of choices that result in us being present to watch.
A random collection of props surround a sacred circle of light, the protective performance space for Julie Rose Bower. In here, she can recreate sound, loop it round and round with a dulling monotony.
Sonja Linden’s Roundelay sticks two fingers up to this generalisation whilst sticking two fingers down its pants for a good old rummage around.
Yes, it is in many ways the most bizarre opening to a production I’ve ever witnessed. Each time an ad break rolls on, there is the expectation that the clip will stop and the play will begin.
How to create a satirical, multimedia performance, inspired by How To Come Out Black: Pick a popular topic that is relatable and highly commented on.