VAULT FESTIVAL REVIEW: Mighty ★★★★
The Crypt, Vault Festival
Tuesday 4th - Sunday 9th February 2020
'Should we be taking Heightism more seriously?' is the tagline proudly printed on Jack AG Britton's A5 Vault Festival Flyers, and it is a funny one, as when was the last time you thought about height in terms of people with power, or simply dating in relationships? If Jack's aim was make us go away and re-evaluate our whole stance on this matter, he certainly did achieve something as I left with my party following his first performance to have that very discussion on height, particularly when it comes to choosing our romantic partners.
So let's take it back to the start; as we enter The Crypt space, Jack is already on stage with his loop station playing away a beat with the odd 'Sit on the Front Row' thrown in for extra measure, already sensing Jack as a bit of a clever comedian, and in this performance it very much works with individuals obeying in coming to the front, which was needed for the audience size of only a smattering of us. Throughout the piece, the loop system is very much embedded into the show, with Jack making up his own tracks on the spot that we get to witness, and though at times things didn't always run smoothly, Britton has this complete likeability factor that makes it totally refreshing to see such a human side; when he makes these mistakes, we laugh along and encourage him further, as I'm sure none of us would be as skilled as to crack jokes and electronically work a such a technical station at the same time in front of a crowd.
Jack tackles Heightism by threading through a storyline that starts off in his childhood with a rather familiar BBC comedy show nickname, that soon leads into the present day. From The Yellow Pages to Drayton Manor, which involved a clever bit of audience participation, to Tinder and Twitter, no segment feels repetitive; to balance out the comedic moments, Jack also plays off his laptop talks from professors and those in media that have something to say on the matter, and it's these recordings that are rather thought-provoking to hear for multiple reasons as we find out what those really think of short people, and even to those on social media, with Jack reading out the terms and conditions of reporting hate crime that might just shock you.
Jack seamlessly tackles this moments with ease, and even the lighting design helps for extra measure in setting the scene. Britton reverts back to past segments when needed, with the polystyrene Yellow Pages (as the real version went out of circulation in 2019) coming in useful during a second bit of audience interaction, and keeps a real rapport with his audience, feeling the need to chat to us with confidence. He never feels engulfed on the stage and has a presence that keeps you engaged, with even facial expressions taking on a key part when he finds out at one moment that he has a match on a dating app.
Overall, it's genuinely hard to compare this production to another other seen based on the subject; though I've seen many one-man shows, I do question when was the last time I watched one on Heightism. From Complex to Astonishing, Mighty is a strong, clever production balancing from the fun to the facts, and makes you leave with your thoughts turning into full-on conversations.