Review: nest, VAULT Festival

An intriguing debut for new Australian writer Katy Warner with nest at the VAULT Festival

“They made beautiful patterns in the sky and then just disappeared”

Katy Warner’s nest arrives at the VAULT Festival with the promise that this is a new Australian voice worth listening to. Warner comes here fresh from winning awards in Australia, and nest was shortlisted from over 1600 entries for Theatre503’s playwriting award. Produced here by Small Truth Theatre, it’s not hard to see why.

Focused on the extreme intensity of the relationship between Jade and Liam, it’s a punchy two-hander that speaks of the ease with which the disaffected can find themselves disengaged from society. In the council estate flat that she doesn’t like to leave, a chance meeting with Liam offers the rare opportunity to connect. 

But she really doesn’t like to leave, hasn’t done in a long time actually, preferring to stay inside the cocoon she has constructed for herself. Resisting his attempts to take her out, as he goes looking for jobs that just aren’t there, the love that grows between them is tempered by frustration, especially when the dark mists of depression descend, leaving Jade utterly despondent.

Naturally, it is a fairly low-key production but even at just an hour long, it felt like there were moments where too little is at stake. Yasmeen Arden encourages compelling performances from Charlotte Jane Higgins and Arthur McBain but there’s something of a cutting edge that is missing, a perilous sense of the dark side of such a hermit-like existence, the intimacy to pull us right into the mess with them.

Running time: 1 hour (without interval)
Photo: Alex Harvey Brown
nest is booking at the VAULT Festival until 4th March

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