Review: Thomas, VAULT Festival

Thomas at the VAULT Festival is a gently lovely little thing which quietly does more to represent neurodiverse voices than you could ever imagine

“I didn’t think you did hugs”

Robbie Curran’s debut play Thomas is a gently lovely little thing which quietly does more to represent neurodiverse voices than you could ever imagine. Thomas and David are cousins, Thomas has Asperger’s but even if David doesn’t, he’s not immune to the pressures that can overwhelm young men in contemporary society. Curran takes us through their journey into those men and the ways in which their condition(s) shape it, or otherwise as the case may be.

Curran plays Thomas and he shares an extraordinary chemistry with Ben Lydon’s David, brothers by any other name as childhood games turn into teenage rebellions and then altogether more adult pleasures. As with the under-rated Jellyfish, there’s such mileage in showing the fullness of neurodiverse lives and Thomas‘ standout scene comes with David’s disbelief at his cousin’s particular success at a house party. Throw in a cracking scene of getting stoned and another in which he tries to parse the orgasm scene in When Harry Met Sally, and Curran’s talents as a writer are clear to see. Continue reading “Review: Thomas, VAULT Festival”

2019 VAULT Festival – 20 shows to see

With less than a week to go before the 2019 VAULT Festival opens, I wade my way through the catalogue and come up with 20 shows I think you should catch – in their own words

Now in its seventh year, VAULT Festival returns this year from 23rd January to 17th March with a broad and diverse programme of more than 400 shows in a range of atmospheric venues throughout Waterloo. And as ever, the remit is to be as big and bold as impossible, with the festival featuring theatre, comedy, cabaret, immersive experiences, late night parties, and much more besides.

It can be a little overwhelming to figure out what you want to see, the majority of shows run for a week (Wednesday to Sunday) so you’ll need to move pretty sharpish once you’ve decided – there’s the VAULT Combo deal which saves you money booking more than one show, and some 241 deals available through the Stagedoor app. And to help you, I’ve identified 20 shows (and it could have been so many more!) that appealed to me and asked them to sell themselves in 10 words or less in order to grab your attention.  Continue reading “2019 VAULT Festival – 20 shows to see”

Review: The Rehearsal, Minerva

“Life has a way of sorting things out and leaving them in some sort of order”

Chichester Festival Theatre has a long-standing tradition of staging works by the French writer Jean Anouilh, which is continued by this production of his 1950 play The Rehearsal, but it is not terribly difficult to see why he has fallen out of favour with the vast majority of British theatres. Jeremy Sams, directing his own translation here, has pulled together a lusciously talented cast and a sumptuous set and costume design by William Dudley for the Minerva, but it is all sadly just window-dressing, albeit of a very high quality.

The play is set in 1950s France, in a chateau inhabited by the fabulously wealthy and the fatuously bored. To pass the time, they’re putting on a show – Marivaux’s The Double Inconstancy to be precise – but art is bleeding into life and vice versa. The feckless Count, the instigator of the whole affair, pressgangs their young governess into joining their company and soon finds his head turned by her fresh charms. This is to the consternation of his wife the Countess, who seeks solace in the arms of her own lover, and also of his official mistress Hortensia who sees her shakier position undermined.  Continue reading “Review: The Rehearsal, Minerva”