2020 VAULT Festival – 20 shows to see

Insofar as it is humanly possible for any one person to know everything that is happening at the VAULT Festival this year, I present a handful of my recommendations for 2020.

In all honesty though, I think the best thing to do is just pick a night, go down there and see what tickles your fancy – the level of quality here really is something to admire and means it’ll be very hard to end up disappointed. Take a look at their website here.

LGBT+ stories

Body Talk – 29 Jan — 02 Feb
Full Disclosure Theatre take on male body image from the gay perspective, looking at the damage that can be imposed by obsessing over it.

how we love 18 — 23 Feb
Regi and Babs are getting married. She’s a lesbian and he’s gay but they need the cover to deal with the dangers posed by the prevailing attitudes towards homosexuality in Nigeria.

Notch 19 — 23 Feb
After the devilish fun of Ladykiller, the Thelmas return with this dark meditation on migration, homelessness and obsession from Danaja Wass.

V&V 03 — 08 Mar
Exploring communication then and now, V&V contrasts love stories past and present from Virginia Woolf and Vita Sackville-West’s love letters, to Mia and Lottie’s online missives.

Too Pretty To Punch 03 — 08 Mar
A comedy spoken word show from Edalia Day about gender and featuring original songs and video work about trans life in 21st century Britain. Continue reading “2020 VAULT Festival – 20 shows to see”

Film Review: Vita and Virginia (2018)

Written by Eileen Atkins, Vita and Virginia doesn’t quite capture the intensity of this iconic love affair

“When was the moment of your greatest disillusionment?
‘The first time I saw a penis'”

I didn’t know that Eileen Atkins had written a play about Vita Sackville-West and Virginia Woolf but given that it dates back to 1992 and hasn’t been much – if at all – revived, I could perhaps be forgiven. It is that play Vita and Virginia that she has adapted for the screen with Chanya Button, who also directs, and something of its theatrical nature remains.

Based on their copious letters to each others, Vita and Virginia is perhaps inevitably wordy and this isn’t always a great thing in a film. Set as it is in 1920s bohemian London, you might expect the vibe of a decadent whirl and for a while at least, thanks in large part to Isobel Waller-Bridge’s effectively anachronistic score, this is a most seductive party. Continue reading “Film Review: Vita and Virginia (2018)”

Review: Desolate Heaven, Theatre503

“Girls can do anythin’ so…”

If you see two more accomplished or affecting debut performances this year than those of Carla Langley and Evelyn Lockley at the Theatre503, then you will be very lucky indeed. Along with the more seasoned Bríd Brennan, they star in Desolate Heaven, a new play from Irish composer and playwright Ailís Ní Ríain and a piece of new writing that dances variously between grimly realistic road-trip, lesbian coming-of-age story and cautionary fairytale.

Langley’s Orlaith and Lockley’s Sive are both teenage girls and bound together by their similar responsibilities in acting as a carer for one parent in the absence of the other. Orlaith has developed a brittle exterior of forthright bluster in the face of her father’s mental illness but in dealing with her paralysed mother, Sive has become altogether more introverted. But despite the innate difference in their characters, they bond over the idea of fleeing the oppressive reality of their lives and seize the first chance that comes their way, unprepared for the consequences they’re ultimately forced to face. Continue reading “Review: Desolate Heaven, Theatre503”