Review: A Wake in Progress, VAULT Festival

For all its funeral-based shenanigans, there’s something warmly, beautifully, life-affirming here in the interactive A Wake in Progress at the VAULT Festival

“When it comes to it, I will be remembered in the most romantic, bullshit way possible…”

This is the story of Henry. Except it won’t be when you see A Wake in Progress, as the finer details of this Fine Mess & Leila Sykes production are improvised every night, using audience suggestions to shape the action and flesh out back stories around a young person diagnosed with a terminal illness and given just months to live.

Joel Samuels’ script sees our protagonist opting to stop treatment and get on with the business of living the life that remains, and some of the more powerful moments here come in the interactions with loved ones and family who can’t comprehend such a choice. There’s also some pretty punchy stuff around the language of death, our tendency towards euphemism instead of facing the truth head on. Continue reading “Review: A Wake in Progress, 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: Outbox – Snapshots, Arcola

“If we use my poster, the gays will come”

All-gay theatre company Outbox put together Snapshots, an evening telling the untold and forgotten stories of the LGBT community which, in a nutshell, sum up as the gays are obsessed with sex, lesbians overcommit and Tom Wells remains the best chronicler of small-town gay life. Bringing together new and experienced writers, actors and directors, 5 short plays were featured in this particular programme which sold out the main room of the Arcola on a chilly February Sunday night.

The main reason for booking was to see Tom Wells’ My Number 1 Favourite Lesbian. No one could ever manage Simon Stephens’ level of ubiquity but Wells is giving it a damn good try with three short plays appearing in London over the next month or so. This one was a monologue, excellently delivered by Tim Jackson, set on a New Year’s Eve gone awry where Mark reflects on a difficult few months after moving to London from his hometown has ended up full of disillusionment. Full of rueful humour and wry observation, a lovely thing indeed. Continue reading “Review: Outbox – Snapshots, Arcola”