A blend of Orwell’s 1984 and the American Horror Story TV series, The Messiah Complex is a dystopian thriller that explores the extremes of conflicting belief systems. It takes place in a society where religion is banned and treated as a mental illness, and those who oppose scientific dogma are prosecuted without scruples. Sethian, a prophet who grapples with inner conflict, is held captive in a complex where a scientist – someone really between a nurse and a political propagandist – attempts to correct his behaviour.
‘Heart-breaking, wonderfully crafted piece’: LÒNG MẸ – Vault Festival
As a child of an immigrant mother, the double-bill is Lòng Mẹ like a beloved jumper that’s scratchy but warm, you embrace the small pains because the comfort and love is so much stronger.
‘Particularly fiendish’: JEKYLL & HYDE – Vault Festival
This is certainly something different to the majority of the festival’s shows: rather than a traditional show, it is a scavenger hunt/immersive promenade show, put on by established company Fire Hazard Games.
‘An exceptional piece of new writing’: PUSH – Vault Festival
Push is a one-woman show centred on one woman’s story, and its sense of universality will be welcome to those who experience the pressure to have, or not have, children.
‘Slick, smart & penetrating’: VOiD – Vault Festival
If a piercing performance of the mind is something you are after, you will not be disappointed with VOiD at the Vault Festival, London.
‘An impressive range of issues delivered beautifully by the cast’: BODY TALK – Vault Festival
Full Disclosure has created an ensemble piece in Body Talk that weaves the characters’ lives together with the sensitivity and playfulness that these subjects require.
‘Educates & enlightens audiences’: 10 – Vault Festival
In 10, playwright Lizzie Milton wants to redress the balance. The potted stories of 10 women who have been largely forgotten in the passage of time unfold in choral celebration, serving to both educate and enlighten audiences.
‘The spirit of political activism is well-captured’: BALAKLAVA BLUES – Vault Festival
Mark and Marichka Marczyk’s band Lemon Bucket Orkestra shares songs from their newest album in the short, intimately staged gig Balaklava Blues at the Vault Festival.
‘A gripping piece’: TRYST – Vault Festival
Thanks to three great performances and a taut script, Tryst is a gripping piece. The three characters are well-rounded and convincing, and as lies unravel and confessions are made it is difficult to know who to side with.
‘It’s impossible to look away’: DRENCHED – Vault Festival
Parody is too broad a stroke to apply to Drenched at the Vault Festival. There is something more intelligent and altogether weird and wonderful at work here.
‘Intelligent & terrifying theatre at its best’: SÉANCE – Vault Festival
Séance is one of two productions that Darkfield has brought to the VAULT Festival this year, and this sensory explosion is not one for the faint-hearted.
‘Gross, funny & interactive’: TRAINSPOTTING LIVE – The Vaults
Beginning with a rave and barrelling through to the last blackout, Trainspotting Live is an important contribution to theatre’s ecology and balls-out fights with its reputation for being stuffy and inaccessible.
‘A bit rocky in places’: LOCK & KEY – Vault Festival ★★
Although it is a bit rocky in places, there is an interesting twist at the end of Lock and Key that makes it easier to digest.
‘A solid little play with some big ideas’: DIRTY LITTLE MACHINE – Vault Festival
Dirty Little Machine is this close to smashing through theatrical boundaries, what with its dalliances into non-linear storytelling, but it could certainly go further.
‘Potential to be be a fantastic piece of theatre’: BIG BAD – Vault Festival
Big Bad is a polished, complete play with a confrontational viscerality necessary in the world today. With greater emotional range applied to the performance, this would be a really fantastic piece of theatre.
‘Beautifully surreal & dark take on the ridiculousness that is advertising culture’: ALL BOXED UP – Vault Festival
Boxed Up is a beautifully surreal and dark take on the ridiculousness that is advertising culture, deftly delivered. If you’re after something off-beat and tongue-in-cheek, you’d be hard-pressed to find something smarter.
‘Rich combination of musical styles’: LADYLIKE – Vault Festival
Brazilian choreographer and performer Ella Mesma uses a wide range of dance styles, such as rumba, rock and South American ritual dances in Ladylike.
‘Delicate performances’: BOOTS – Vault Festival
There are really moving moments and confessions in Boots, especially relevant in a time like ours, where more and more people are speaking up about sexual abuse.
‘A wonderful adventure that’s executed with clarity and precision’: A HUNDRED WORDS FOR SNOW – Vault Festival
Equally endearing and moving with light touches of comedy, Tatty Hennessy’s A Hundred Words For Snow coming-of-age monologue is well-crafted, staged simply and performed with an easy vulnerability.
‘Strangely beautiful’: FOREIGN BODY – Vault Festival
Foreign Body is a brave and abstract way of presenting a horrific act that leaves the stories wide open to the audience’s individual interpretation without coming across as preachy.