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VAULT FESTIVAL REVIEW: The 4th Country ★★★★

The 4th Country
The Crypt, Vault Festival
Tuesday 11th - Sunday 16th February 2020In October 2019, the abortion laws in Northern Ireland were finally discriminated after many years of fighting for freedom, with Plaine Heroines taking on this monumentous time in history to tell real life stories from the time before the movement, in this poignant and often harrowing, ambitious piece. Kate Reid's writing puts four performers, including herself, at the heart of the piece, with an initial apology towards the audience, for this isn't a show about leprechauns and Irish Dancing, but instead a story that at the time changed history, and had inspiration from press that would often only earned single articles in the British media.Aoife Kennan, Cormac Elliot, Kate Reid, and Rachel Rooney take the stage together to tell this tale, as we follow Connor Murphy and his sibling Niamh, one of many families who were affected before the change in law. This is also a story that we as the audience …

VAULT FESTIVAL REVIEW: Sister! ★★

Sister!
The Cavern, Vault Festival
Saturday 8th & 15th February 2020Festivals can always go one of two ways, and it was only a matter of time before a show would be seen where you wonder why in the first place it was produced. It's unclear whether it's the seating situation in The Cavern to blame, which can be very adaptive to the production, or the lack of projection and story, but this production that celebrates women throughout history is almost not what this production is about at all. Instead, this 40 minute production rushes around to jump between time periods that make little sense, with not one moment making us feel like we know the characters being presented, which is told through verbatim and movement, not that much of the verbatim can be heard in a venue that does not suit the piece. Though we do get Brechtian signage to indicate dates such as 1941 and 15th February 2030, a decade in the future where there is an urgent need for doctors and nurses in the NHS, we …

VAULT FESTIVAL REVIEW: Cabaret Sauvignon & A Single Vault Whiskey ★★★★

Cabaret Sauvignon & A Single Vault Whiskey
The Cresent, Vault Festival
Friday 14th February 2020Let me ask you this; how did you spend your Valentine's Day? Was it a romantic meal at your favourite restaurant, or a more casual self-care at home with pampered good, because those two options would probably be near the top of most people's lists, but for myself and around 170 others this late Friday evening, we spent around 100 minutes with eachother in the safe hands of 'Stiff and Kitsch', a female comedy duo formed by Rhiannon Neads and Sally O'Leary, who most certainly could give musical sister legends Flo & Joan a run for their money.From songs about Hangovers at the tender age of 21 to audience participation games surrounding Google Predictions, conveniently centred around the romantic evening, Stiff & Kitsch are hilariously brilliant and likeable,  as two strong women completely own the stage; Rhiannon is trying so hard to convince us that Dominic in…

VAULT FESTIVAL REVIEW: Coming Out of My Cage ★★★★

Coming Out of My Cage
The Pit, Vault Festival
Tuesday 11th - Sunday 16th February 2020Mid December last year, Netflix released a documentary titled 'Don't F**k with Cats', which followed two YouTube fantics going beyond the call of duty to venture on a manhunt and find a killer. Okay, so maybe Shepard Tone's production surrounding the best rock song of the decade in the shape of 'Mr Brightside' isn't exactly as gruesome as the former documentary, but there are eery similarities as Tim and Hannah go on a physical adventure ( by also skipping a rehearsal) to find Brampton Flowers, the owner of a YouTube channel which holds 24 karaoke versions of The Killers Classic, Thrown into the mix of the great adventure is short bursts of episodic skits from both performers who showcase a sheer musical ability that if built up could see a two man band play a plethora of instruments to the tune Mr Brightside; even the beginning of the performance holds a visual gag to the…

THEATRE REVIEW: Uncle Vanya ★★★

Uncle Vanya
The Harold Pinter Theatre, London
Tuesday 14th January - Saturday 2nd May 2020Celebrated as one of the greatest writers of all time, Anton Chekhov was a man who never shied away from putting characters to the forefront that were troubled and unlucky in their passions, with Uncle Vanya showcasing Sonya (Aimee Lou Wood), a young woman fixated with her family's doctor, Astrov (Richard Afmitage), as she looks after the estate in which is soon to be handed down to her thanks to Vanya (Toby Jones), her often deluded uncle.Chekhov excels mostly in his writing when it comes to ensemble pieces, in which this production throws abouts with high intensity and comedic moments that have us in awe of the talents on stage, but stumbles mostly in providing efficient backstories to some of the personas, especially from Mariya (Dearbhla Molloy), the Mother-in-law who is often faded into the background and forgotten about, both in presence and storytelling. Rosalind Eleazar on the other han…

THEATRE REVIEW: all of it ★★★★

all of it
The Royal Court, London
Friday 7th - Saturday 15th February 2020For 8 performances only, Alistair McDowall's latest production for The Royal Court, all of it, sees Kate O'Flymn take the stage, or a stool to be precised, illuminated under a single spotlight, to whisk us away on a journey through quite literally 'all of it'; from birth to first day at school, first kiss to puberty, sexual experiences and pregnancy, and an added measure of marriage to death thrown into the mix, it merges all the above and more into the space of 45 minutes, without giving you the chance to breath.What's fascinating about McDowall's writing is the way in which he allows us to care and laugh with O'Flynn's unnamed character without getting a chance to sink into a thorough backstory; we laugh so hard when the subject of puberty and male genitalia creeps into the script, but then are left in sudden silence when a medical scare moments into starting university weaves thr…

THEATRE REVIEW: Poet in Da Corner ★★★

Poet in Da Corner
The Royal Court, London
DatesBased on Dizzee Rascal's 'Boy in the Corner', which was a turning point for Grime, Debris Stevenson also felt the same, as after she listened to the album in full, it started to change her life, as she started to struggle with her sexuality, trust in friends, and her relationship with her family, especially with her mother.Stevenson and Jammz, who both feature heavily and play versions of themselves, are joined by Stacy Abalogun and Kirubel Belay to help tell a tale which is fused with poetic alternatives to Dizzee's album tracks, and multirole in parts that include Mum and Tony. As a collective, as well as control the decks, as we move through Debris' life with a flow of beats and rap battles as a mystery is unravelled and told through the years of Debris learning how Grime refined who she could become.It's slick transitioning and rapid energy between the four performers that make this seventy minute production fly …