VAULT FESTIVAL REVIEW: Cassie and The Lights ★★★★★

Cassie and The Lights
The Crypt, Vault Festival
Friday 31st January - Sunday 2nd February 2020

Cassie, Tin and Kit are three sisters fending for themselves after the disappearance of their mother, though the circumstances are surrounded in mystery early on for us as an audience. With the use of fairy lights, an old school projector, and a loop pedal amongst many other elements, Patch of Blue enchant us on a journey of sisterhood, bravery, and raw emotion that makes you want to hold on tight with those who we care about the most.

Alex Brain embodies 17 year old Cassie, a strong minded young adult whose main instinct is to step toward as the mother figure to her younger siblings, who at the best of times are still full of imagination and wonders that we all have inhabited at some stage as children. Tin and Kat are the two sisters in question, portrayed with impeccable vulnerability and childlike mannerisms from Michaela Murphy and Emily McGlynn respectfully, and as a trio each showcase their emotions to an exceptional level of dignity and realism, whether that's Murphy's innocence of dancing with Jake at the upcoming school disco, McGlynn's breakdown on wanting her mum to return following a 'Play within a Play' segment of the production, or Brain's closing deceleration speech where Cassie urges to be the soul guardian in her sisters, or equally moments where the pressure of juggling her own future education between their careers Mark and Barbara become too much, to which Rachel Sampley's lighting and Video design guides this through to capture some staggering imagery throughout.

Written, Directed and Designed by Alex Howarth, what he has managed to achieve is something quite extraordinary, leaving sniffles and tissues being produced all around come the rather uncertain future for the trio in a striking image at the final moment. Through his storytelling, Howarth allows the characters to interact with us through 'Tin Talks' and regular 'under the breath' moments from Alex Brain, which are unexpected but makes us roar with laughter. The direction flows so naturally from one moment to the next that all three performers on stage are clearly having the time of their lives with eachother, even when they are squabbling when the loop pedal messes up, until having genuine delight when something seems to go perfectly right.

Imogen Mason and Phoebe Coco make up the final two company members on stage as the musicians in the background, who also make little cameo appearances throughout as small characters. Music is often the make or break of any production as it can sometimes come off unhinged and break away from the nature of the show, but here Mason and Coco play a variety of instruments that are cohesive with eachother and drifts perfectly with the action on stage; a rendition of Maisie Peters 'Place We Were Made' is even more poignant in the closing moments when the lyrics in question are mirrored with the story that we have been watching for the past hour, where one minute we are grinning from ear to ear to then suddenly feeling cold and small in feeling helpless to what's going on around us.

Overall, Cassie and the Lights is a beautiful tale of three sisters who care about nothing else in the entire universe than to be with, and look after eachother. Though it's come to a close at The Vault Festival for 2020, I cannot foresee this being the end of such a poetic production with a sensational company of cast and musicians.


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