Review: Zoo, Cavern (Vault Festival 2020)


Martini Rating: 🍸🍸🍸🍸🍸

If you aren’t planning on catching Lily Bevan’s Zoo at VAULT Festival this week, what are you doing? Bevan’s smash-hit play is running until Sunday and is quite simply sensational. Full of depth, heart, intelligence and comedic wonderment, it’s a must see!

Having ran previously at Assembly in Edinburgh and Theatre 503 to great critical acclaim, Zoo has now been published by Nick Hern Books and is a bittersweet, tragicomedy about friendship, courage and flamingos. Set in both Miami and Yorkshire, the narrative harmonically follows two close female friends, Bonnie, who works at Cherokee Valley Zoo and Carol who devotes her time to bat conservation in the Yorkshire Dales, the pair, despite living thousands of miles apart, care greatly for each other. Making Zoo, a timeless story of love and friendship. We watch how they navigate their passion for animals, alongside the troublesome men prevalent in their lives. Animals proving to be much easier for them to cope with, an engaging counter-balance to their pair’s mild disdain for human connection.

Zoo therefore, eloquently traverses the female experience with immaculate wit and charm, meaningfully and affectingly touching upon strong topics such as domestic abuse, divorce, single parenthood and gender discrimination/misogyny. When a hurricane heads straight for Miami, Bonnie rushes to keep her animals safe. Across the world in Yorkshire, Carol feels the repercussions. From Carol’s pantomathic knowledge of bats and fear that cavers will disturb them, to Bonnie’s resistance in leaving her animals alone in the storm, Bevan dutifully captures absolute passion, love, loyalty, commitment and solicitude, as well as a creating dialogue about humanity’s relationship to the natural world. Demonstrating the lengths people will go to in order to save what they love and depicting how split-decisions in a crisis can shape one’s destiny. Meaning Zoo is not only a tender tale of sisterhood set to the back drop of animal facts and raucous comedy, but a turbulent play about change, both in the climate sense as the storms hit much harder than expected and in the female characters, Carol for instance is forced to find friendship in those around her and reform a relationship with her son, she is therefore, tentatively rejoining the human world with help from Bonnie. Opening up an intriguing discourse on purpose, legacy, spirituality and the concept of a life well lived.

However, Zoo has even more going for it than its clever, complex and hilarious writing. Bevan and Hamish MacDougall’s vibrant direction brings to life both Carol’s bountiful Yorkshire and Bonnie’s cherished Cherokee Valley Zoo. Bonnie therefore resides in Miami on the left, whilst Carol remains on the right in Yorkshire, the pair meeting in the middle when reminiscing about their first meeting at Chester Zoo or Carol’s recent trip to visit Bonnie. This physical representation of their locative distance being wonderfully envisioned by designer Erica Greenshields. Cherokee is brought to life by a neatly painted zoo sign and a series of cages moved around by Bonnie and to be used to safely house the animals, with precautionate sand bags surrounding the perimeter of the stage. Whilst Yorkshire is bare and less colourful, a reflection of the dark caves Carol spends her time studying bats in, the prevalent zoo sign later flipping to reveal a sign for Yorkshire instead, demonstrating the focus switching to Carol. Furthermore, the bench centre stage upon which we see Bonnie and Carol meet for the first time, is later and strikingly used by Carol alone, as she debates her next cause of action. Symbiotically, Tom Clutterbuck’s lighting and Mike Winship’s sound do much to artfully complement and embellish the locative nature of the work and its direction. Regarding performances, Bevan is a comedic tour de force, her Bonnie is impassioned, witty, instantaneously likeable and good-natured. Bevan is not only expressive and vivacious, her delivery is also smart and committed, Bevan knows exactly when to play to her audience. Whilst Lorna Beckett’s Carol is tough, determined and resilient, despite the harder, more reserved nature of the character, Beckett toys with the part and takes every opportunity for comedic relief, she like Bevan, is an effortless and smart storyteller.

To conclude, we cannot reccomend Zoo enough! CLICK HERE TO BOOK. Or HERE to buy a copy of the play text.


Performed by Lily Bevan (Bonnie Young) and Lorna Beckett (Carol Alsop)

Co-directed by Hamish MacDougall and Lily Bevan

Assistant Producer Alice Robinson

Production Assistant Sophia Tuffin

Designer Erica Greenshields

Sound Design by Mike Winship

Lighting Design by Tom Clutterbuck

Technical Stage Manager Eleanor Theodorou

Review: L I M B O, Cavern (Vault Festival 2020)


Martini Rating: 🍸🍸🍸🍸

Produced by Causas Comuns, Sara Carinhas directs an intimately human combination of stories, dextrously woven together. These searing, autobiographical snapshots are phenomenally set to music and dance for a transformative and theatrical affect.

Presenting a whimsical blur of narratives, the piece sensationally uses physical theatre moments and shadow work with transitions and songs, to play with the boundary between fiction and reality. Layering narrative upon narrative to provide an intelligible, provocative and bittersweet exegesis on the human experience. Touching on universal themes such as: love, friendship, ageing, solitude, existentialism, war, humanity vs nature, fascism, identity, immigration and more, L I M B O is a fast-paced piece of art bolstering a strong ensemble of international performers with excellent storytelling abilities, able to take us eerily from joy and hope to utter despair, in a single look or movement. Subtly referencing well-known Hollywood-ised stories such as Hans Christian Andersen’s The Red Shoes and L.Frank Baum’s The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, the intended blur of fiction vs reality is truly threaded in. As the stories are remade by others and now them, Causas Comuns lead us to question do they still mean what they initially did?

As an internationally-focussed piece, the work also plays a lot with nationality and language. For instance, there is a beautiful section where Pierre Ensergueix euphorically talks about a childhood long ago in French, with Carinhas proceeding to translate it line by line into English. Whilst Filomena Cautela enchantingly flits through a series of different international accents with complete ease. The actors often reverting from English to (usually) their native language within sections of their storytelling, beautifully toying with the idea of universality, as, though there are parts the monolingual amongst us can’t necessarily understand, the emotion and sentiment shines through. Language being only one way to communicate. Hence the highly physical and musical nature of the piece.

As aforementioned the show also encapsulates some wonderful shadow work, providing phenomenal aesthetic intrigue and beauty, particularly from António Bollaño and Pierre Ensergueix, a testament to their physical performative abilities. Whilst Nádia Yracema is wonderfully endearing and expressive, her delivery is brimming with unadulterated clarity. Equally, Marco Nanetti is a powerful and succinct actor with a certain charm about him. Alongside them, Filomena Cautela, as aforementioned is fantastically malleable and articulate, demonstrating her boundless energy throughout. Finally Director and performer Sara Carinhas is suitably smart and quick-witted. Culminating in a clever, confounding and complex piece.

Catch  L I M B O today only at VAULT festival. Click here to book now.


Director: Sara Carinhas

Cast: António Bollaño, Filomena Cautela, Marco Nanetti, Nádia Yracema, Pierre Ensergueix, Sara Carinhas

Production: Causas Comuns

Review: Omelette, Cavern (Vault Festival)


Martini Rating: 🍸🍸🍸🍸

Omelette is a bizarre, yet absolutely charming love story full of wit and intelligence.

Set in a climate-conscious London, the piece follows Mia and Mo, who fall hard and fast for each other, after unexpectedly meeting in a shared Uber one night. The couple consolidate their affection for each other and hit the big milestones, whilst doing their bit for the planet. They attend all the marches, move in together, turn off the heating, stay indoors and even in a surreal twist of events, eat their goldfish, (waste not, want not). But as they begin to buckle under the pressure of neutralising their carbon footprint and the climate continues to collapse, their passionate love affair bitterly crumbles around them, much like the planet. Anna Spearpoint thus, writes a beautifully thematic love story, Mia and Mo’s all in, cult-like approach to becoming, in totality, eco-friendly, fantastically mirrors their intensely tempestuous relationship that seemingly forms over night. A wonderful examination of the prevalent extremism demonstrated by some climate activists, using the absurdity of the couple to subtly suggest that we don’t all have to be perfect all of the time to make a difference. Spearpoint phenomenally using the rise and fall of the relationship to highlight a hope that we can undo things, a hope that she breaks just as the relationship falls apart, demonstrating how futile individual efforts can seem, as well as the way in which this pressure to be perfect can affect everything, from relationships to how we act regarding climate change. The piece ultimately becoming a rallying cry to work together, to not necessarily be perfect, but to offset as much as we can, by planting trees for instance. Spearpoint’s writing is therefore hugely relevant and engaging, her comedic and emotional intelligence being wonderfully flexed here.

Tash Hyman’s direction is likewise, severely dexterous and does much to stage climate anxiety and the intensity of the aforementioned marches that the pair pledge to attend. Her decisions, mixed with Alice Boyd’s intricate Sound Design and Rajiv Pattani’s sharp, yet aesthetically stunning Lighting create an intense, fast-paced piece with swift and cutting scene changes that bring a certain riotous sense of anticipation and building pressure. Perfect for the climate anxiety the piece intends to convey. Whilst the circular nature of Seren Noel’s design, the audience sitting on all sides, not only hones in on this built-up, pressurised atmosphere, but cleverly engenders this sense of the couple going no where. Both figuratively and literally. As they take the decision to stay indoors in order to avoid doing anything to harm the environment, they remain on a circular disc centre stage, trapped. Their eco-efforts are the same, despite seemingly doing more, they are getting no where in terms of the bigger picture. Finally, a spiral at the centre of the disc they reside on, is revealed and this enacts the centre of their fixation on absurdly going to extremes to do everything they possibly can and therefore disregarding all rationality. Making Omelette a succinctly layered and intelligible piece. The couple’s movement around the disc combined with conversation, providing an exciting discourse on the Climate Action strikes, veganism, privilege when it comes to being able to afford to not work and go on the marches, love and more. Whilst Anna Spearpoint and Kwami Odoom’s performances are simply brilliant. They are both equally as vibrant, demonstrating themselves to be comedically smart and emotive actors. Their performances are a joy to watch.

Long Distance Theatre’s Omelette runs at VAULT festival until 23rd February, click here to book now.


Mia: Anna Spearpoint

Mo: Kwami Odoom


Creative Team

Writer: Anna Spearpoint

Director: Tash Hyman

Dramaturg: Tommo Fowler

Designer: Seren Noel

Sound Designer: Alice Boyd

Lighting Designer: Rajiv Pattani

Producer: Tom Bevan

Review: Mighty, Crypt (Vault Festival 2020)


Martini Rating: 🍸🍸🍸🍸

Jack AG Britton’s Mighty is a riotous, conceptualised combination of self-made, loop-peddled, live music, spoken word, truth bombs and statistics, witty anecdotes, recorded interviews and audience interaction. Providing a fantastically powerful and amusing discourse on body image from the male perspective, and more specifically, heightism.

Described as a ‘TED-talk-meets-theatre show’, Britton, a five foot four and 3/4 inches theatre-maker, artistically and truthfully dives into how his height has affected his self-esteem, mental health, masculinity and more, in a bitter-sweet, biopic performance. Navigating the challenges of online dating, blatant and unchallenged prejudice to short guys, companies selling shoes that discreetly add height, stereotypes, hateful conduct policies on social media and making it onto the best rides at Drayton Manor. A smattering array of topics, that he cleverly weaves together, to deliver an honest and much-need conversation starter on the broader subject of toxic masculinity. His personable approach and comedy, having a whole-heartedly engaging effect. Britton simply doesn’t take himself too seriously, but loudly, (often with a mega-phone), backs up his words with genuine facts and interviews with professionals, rationalising his displeasure at how he and others are treated whilst providing endless comedic refrain. Asking the big (or little) question: should we be taking Heightism more seriously? Expect puns!

Britton’s work is terrifically provocative and understated, for example he mentions amongst many statistics that shorter men are more likely to commit suicide, going on to then later wrap a measuring tape around his neck like a noose. Emoting this harrowing image  perfectly. Yet, he still doesn’t just lay out the problems, Britton uses and re-enacts his own responses to moments of prejudice to demonstrate that it’s okay to stand up and call someone out on it, that it won’t change until people do. Juxtaposing this with the fact that online policies don’t see threatening comments on body image outside of race/disability, i.e weight or height as determinates of hateful conduct, therefore hateful mentions regarding these won’t be taken down if reported. An exceedingly shocking and transformative notion. Whilst his moments of improv, audience participation and direct address allow him to build up rapport with his audience. As he converses with them, he consequentially leads them to question their own actions, a wonderfully reflective construction. Britton is therefore, immensely quick-witted, hugely entertaining and endlessly engaging, certainly a performer to watch out for and indefinitely mastering his craft.

Catch Mighty today at Vault Festival at 3pm & 6pm, click here to book now.

Review: Me Myself I, Pit (Vault Festival 2020)


Martini Rating: 🍸🍸🍸🍸

Carla GraulsMe Myself I is a striking and much-needed portrayal of humanity and it’s dulcet response to the climate crisis. Delving deep into the idea of legacy and the meaning of life, Grauls heartbreakingly captures the rate at which the planet is dying whilst humans keep on living, focussing more on legacy and online presence than the world they are actually in.

We meet Lana and Lena in a facility, where Lana, having chosen to replace herself before she dies, is having her clone Lena sign over her servitude for 100 years, should she even live that long, agreeing to taking on Lana’s identity in its entirety. The contract thus inciting Lena to adopt her life, relationship and digital presence, with guidelines explaining how to do so. But as we quickly see, the life that Lena inherits isn’t quite what she expected. The world is different to what she’s been told and the life, paper-thin, a loveless relationship with very little affection, a purposeless existence all riding on a falsified digital presence.

Going through several generations of clones, the work has a wonderfully artistic Samuel Beckett-esque monotony to it. As clone by clone goes by, the same single-perspective anecdotes being told to help the next understand who they are becoming, more birds die, forests burn, marshes swamp and houses are swallowed whole. Not only is the extent of the climate emergency therefore harshly constructed in front of us, humanity is congruently deconstructed, it’s loss of meaning, potent. With the clones almost willing the next to not sign the agreement and end the line. Humans become a mass of selfie-posting, idealism-lovers, obsessed with perfection, their image and their legacy, unable to authentically live and love and blind to their own destruction. Sound familiar? Lana’s decision to ‘go on living’ thus coming from a place of selfish vanity and insecurity, not wanting her boyfriend to find someone else, her privilege in full view as she mentions how she has paid for this service. The only ‘good’, preventative deed  regarding the climate emergency that she completes and explains to her clone, is the washing and recycling of plastics, an ironic drop in the ocean on the grand-scale of saving the planet. Grauls’ writing is therefore intelligible, reactive, sharp and clear in its call to action, whilst vibrant in its eloquence and poeticism.

Andrew Twyman’s direction vividly responds, taking Grauls’ stirring and bold lead. Twyman thematically chooses to stage the destruction, the action happening on a platform above dirt and bark mixed in with plastic waste, demonstrable of the human tendency to act above and oblivious to what surrounds them. Culminating in the actors throwing the bark and then examining the plastic, a visual depiction of how single use plastic is one of the things killing the planet. Whilst the square is plain and adorned with white furniture, a clinical man-made cell of privilege, it becomes dirty with the bark demonstrating the insistence that we cannot ignore what is happening forever. The dexterity of Twyman’s direction wonderfully enhancing Grauls’ wit and humour, intuitively referencing and enacting much of what is in the text. He cleverly brings to the forefront the clones becoming Lana, adopting and copying her nuances, inflections, gestures and poses, (for her all important selfies). Intricately physicalising the contract and the taking over of Lana’s life. Lana, Lena and co. are played fantastically by identical twins Leah and Mhairi Gayer. Both are perceptive performers, self-assured and filled with clarity. Locked into the action and utterly in sync, they resiliently blaze through the piece and it’s demanding pace. Pure excellence. 

Me Myself I, ultimately asks what’s the point in living forever in a world that won’t exist? Catch Me Myself I at Vault Festival on Sunday 9th February at 4:30pm and 7:30pm, click here to book now.


Written by Carla Grauls

Directed by Andrew Twyman

Produced and presented by Holly White

Actor – Leah Gayer

Actor – Mhairi Gayer

Casting Director – Belinda Norcliffe CDG

Review: Be Longing, Forge (Vault Festival 2020)


Martini Rating: 🍸🍸🍸🍸🍸

Bolstering an affecting and meaningful queer narrative, Be Longing is a stunning, vividly-written, dystopian paragon. Expertly navigating the morality of genetic engineering, whilst beautifully capturing the slow and painful fizzle of losing love. To put it plainly, it’s a must see!

Set in the not-too-distant present, the piece follows Sigrid and Jim, a relatively normal couple. Episodically, we experience their highs and lows, they laugh, they fight, they make up. These fast-paced snapshots engendering a charming fondness between the two of them, as well as a genuine sense of pain that they seem to cause each-other. The fluctuation of their relationship is palpable, ensuring characters remain tangible and universally relatable. Things start to turn sour when the possibility enters their relationship, of using gene splicing to create a baby from both of their eggs, (a process devoid of any sperm). Their different opinions cleverly becoming the grounds for an enamouring discourse on the morals of medalling with nature and natural selection. Jim is therefore, the clinical, matter-of-fact geneticist who cannot ignore her maternal instincts. Craving to carry a biological child, she sees nothing wrong with the anti-natural selection of the future family model, allowing not only for queer couples to conceive, but for them to box-check the features they would like, i.e skin pigmentation, eye colour and more, theoretically erasing genetic diseases and building their perfect child. This sentiment and style reminding us much of Ella Road’s award-winning play The Phlebotomist. Be Longing thus, fantastically plays on the idea of selection, pitting natural selection, the process through which heritable traits are changed and passed down, against the dystopian idea of manually selecting genes through ticking boxes and signing forms, ready for a lab to engineer it so. Sigrid, comparatively, doesn’t have a maternal bone in her body and has no desire to carry or birth a baby. It doesn’t sit so easy with her to manufacture offspring. She is unsure if she even wants to procreate at first and when it comes down to it, wishes she could leave things to chance. Counter-balancing the argument, she wonders if protesters to the lab’s experimentation are right and questions the ethics, such as what happens to the ‘half-cooked’ embryos. Lauren Gibson’s writing, is therefore a wonderfully balanced and didactic exegesis, she delivers something unimaginably complex and proficient, truthfully navigating the primal urge to want to reproduce. Writing for-the-now, her work is politically and socially aware, for example imagining the probable Tory opinion on lab’s pro LGBTQ+ work and creating a realistic idea of what the media circus around it would be like. Not only does Gibson pose these irreproachable questions and champion everyone’s right to a family, she also demonstrates her wit, leaving plenty of room for comedic relief, i.e Sigrid comparing the process to buying their baby from Argos on Click and Collect.

Lizzie Fitzpatrick’s direction is scintillating, subtle yet strong it combines intimate moments love or emotive impassioned arguments with swift changes in lighting and empowered musical underscoring to maintain a snappy pace, whilst not undermining the overall intent. The scenes in which they each take it in turns to address some thoughts to their embryo(s), documenting their journey for the baby’s future, do much to convey a realistic sense of maternal anticipation, from the nerves, to the excitement, fears and more. This is were the beauty in the design comes in.   White orbs of light, representative of the potential child surround the edges of the playing space, one sitting centre on the couple’s coffee table, these are picked up and addressed directly in these moments. Enacting as endearing, humanising letters. The suggestion of the domestic setting of their home, (i.e with the coffee table, chairs and rug), doing much to contain them as a family unit, grounding and personalising the narrative. Whilst the inclusion of the idea of infertility, through a fault in the body not the eggs, despite all of the science, brings the dystopian fantasy brutally back to earth. 

Performance-wise, Lauren Gibson’s Sigrid is a breath of fresh air, her clarity and nuanced performance phenomenally conveying the unease Sigrid has over the idea of co-parenting, as well as the unfaltering adoration she holds for Jim, Sigrid would do anything for her. Whilst Keagan Carr Fransch’s Jim is passionate and strong, Fransch providing a fantastically visceral portrayal of Jim’s inward frustrations and sharply-practical nature. Both are hugely emotive and dextrously actors.

Do not miss Be Longing on until 8th February, (with a relaxed performance at 3pm on the 8th). Click here.


Jim: Keagan Carr Fransch

Sigrid: Lauren Gibson

Director: Lizzie Fitzpatrick

Dramaturg: Molly O’Shea

Producer: Caroline Tyka

Writer: Lauren Gibson

Review: The Journey of a Warlike Mind, Cage (Vault Festival 2020)


Martini Rating: 🍸🍸🍸🍸

The Journey of a Warlike Mind sees Ana Luiza Ulsig push the boundaries of artistic expression to deliver a vibrant, comedically-rich and affecting feminist exposé, that intimately delves into the inner workings of the mind, beautifully charting a journey of self-discovery and transformation from within.

Masterfully combining storytelling and dramatisation with movement, poeticism, dance, caricature and music, the work follows Eva on the most arduous journey of them all. Inside her own mind, as she finds the way to the bottom of her heart. Based on a true episode of a mental breakdown, which occurred during the impeachment process of Brazil’s first female president, Dilma Rouseff, in 2016, Ulsig playfully challenges her audience to decide which stories are her own and which are borrowed from friends, though all are irrevocably true and as result, remarkably affecting. This collection of narratives artfully weaves together, juxtaposing the abstract with realism and comedy with despair to form a bitter-sweet adventure through imagination, fantasy, mystery, laughter and tears. Resulting in a Herculean exegesis on the female experience and ingrained patriarchal structures, from our silence in the face of oppression and sexual abuse to our attitudes positive or negative towards men. Ultimately concurring that the change first comes from within, beginning with seeking your essential voice.

Ulsig thus dextrously displays the complexities of finding this essential voice, staging the inherent tension between the voices which inhabit our minds. Eva’s many selfs proving to be a battleground she must persist through however difficult or painful it is. An emotive and witty demonstration of the importance of our mental health and the healing process, with the ugliness of pain and scars of trauma being powerful contrasted against the the beauty of transformation and learning to love and feel again.

Ulsig is an enamouring writer and performer, there is true hope, beauty and poetry to her words and the performance of them. She is vibrant, sharp-witted and intelligible, using a plethora of representative costume and props to spin an exhilarating adventure, hurtling at 100 miles an hour, cleverly using movement, music and dance to balance, segment and emote. Her characterisation and ability to instantaneously embody the many facets of Eva’s imagination is wondrous, from an excitable little boy, to a tobacco-smoking, ‘outside-eye’ film director, her melancholic and frail heart, to the manly man she is in potentially in love with, to Shakespeare himself and more. Eva’s relationship with men, through these imagined male figures, is therefore broken down, does she hate men? And if so, why does she hate them? Thus cleverly capturing the conflict and resolution of our brains. We also hilariously see Eva wrestle with the idea of love, is she in love? Is marriage what she wants? Or is it because that’s what’s expect of her? Whilst we heartbreakingly see her come face-to-face with the repressed scarring of sexual abuse. An exquisite snapshot into the modern female experience. Ulsig also beautifully frames her work with the character of Rose, a seeming signifier of all the women who have gone before Eva and all the women that will come after her. The narrative begins with Rose rising from her tomb, from the dead, from the past. She alerts for an imminent war and Eva’s journey begins. At the end Rose fades, a memory.

If you want to witness Ulsig’s prepossessing art and skill, catch The Journey of a Warlike Mind today! Click here.


Written and performed by Ana Luiza Ulsig

African Dance Supervision: Joana Marinho (Brazil)

Costume Design: Camila Crus (Brazil)

Rehearsals / Sound collaboration: Mariana Santos Silva (Portugal/UK)

Performative writing collaboration: Joseph Dunne-Dowrie (UK)

Character development collaboration: Olavo Cavalheiro (Brazil)

Artistic and Graphic Design: Sofie Ulsig & Radoslav Nedyalkov

Photos by Aidan Huxford

Review: VOiD, Pit (Vault Festival 2020)


Martini Rating: 🍸🍸🍸🍸

In our opinion great theatre makes you think and makes you feel, Tutti Tutti ProductionsVOiD does just that.

Coming with a strong content warning, i.e ‘themes of rape, sexual abuse and knife crime’, VOiD is as expected an empowered and gut-wrenching drama, that keeps its audience on the edge of their seats, proving to be gripping, cognitive and raw.

Adroitly written and performed by Sophia Capasso, the piece is a playfully ominous story that challenges its audience to decipher between Ali’s reality and her imagination. On the surface, she is a feisty young women who has always felt invincible, but something has changed, she feels suffocated and exhausted with the world, (particularly the world glued to her finger tips), she wants it to go away and at points it does, in the form of episodic blackouts. When she snaps, breaking her phone and blacking out again, she stabs a man outside of Shepherd’s Bush Tube Station, are the allegations she makes against the man the truth or has she convinced herself to believe an imagined version of events, does she know more than she’s letting on? A tangled web unfolds, providing multiple questions, a remarkably engaging format through which we hear it all from Ali herself. The play vicariously traversing the boundaries of identity, dancing on the edges between monster and victim, which are both shown in equal measure. Also delivering a powerful exegesis on mental health and how we treat it, questioning how helpful it is to simply medicate as well as what the true meaning of sanity is.

The smashing of Ali’s phone and the freeing euphoria she subsequently describes, provides a strong message about our reliance on smart phones in this digital age. Capasso, (Ali) then cupping the air where a phone used to be, describing it as an addiction, an itch we need to scratch. Yet, a phone symbolises much more than this here, it’s an example of a falsified reality, something as aforementioned VOiD wonderfully navigates. Referring to the fact that what we post online is usually never the full story, a highlight reel of how we want to be viewed, with how we interact often not being how we would in real life, the digital version of us is therefore falsified or enhanced. As earlier mentioned, the piece also touches upon rape as well as the criminal justice system. It torturously captures the flaws in ‘the system’ and unwarranted treatment of victims, such as disbelief in their claims entirely and asking questions like ‘what were you wearing?’. Whilst the prison system and its ability to rehabilitate is dextrously debated alongside this.

Bruce Webb’s direction is fantastic, incredibly paced, full of vibrancy and depth, creating a darkly sinister atmosphere that twist and turn, continuously playing with the audience. Whilst Capasso’s performance is absolutely stunning. Her delivery is gritty and complex, perfectly conveying the multiple layers and extremities of Ali. We were in awe.

Catch VOiD now, go, go, go! Click here.


Director – Bruce Webb

Performer and Writer – Sophia Capasso

Review: The Wild Unfeeling World, Cavern (Vault Festival 2020)


Martini Rating: 🍸🍸🍸🍸

Casey Jay AndrewsThe Wild Unfeeling World is a crisp and relevant reimagining of Moby Dick, lyrically exploring a plethora of potent themes such as isolation, mental health and the quest for help. Andrews situating the tale in the not-so-distant past, her adaptation becoming a socially conscious story for the now, the ‘Wild Unfeeling World’ of today as it were. Perfectly capturing how easy it is to fall into solitude in the big smoke, especially when your world starts to crumble. The great whale Dylan is therefore, humanised, transformed into a modern, London women on the brink of self-destruction, having hit rock bottom and feeling utterly alone, she is frantically searching for a something, someone or somewhere to neutralise her self deprecation and a great journey of self discovery ensues. The narrative culminating with her finding affinity with a lost whale she discovers in the Thames, a beautifully tragic nod to the juvenile bottlenose whale who died of such a fate in January 2006. However, whale-lovers do not despair, as the tagline of the show warns, ‘expect whale facts’.

The most charming part about Andrews’ work is quite simply how much of an exquisite storyteller she is, projecting a certain warmth and clarity, revelling in the beautiful simplicity of her own work, breaking the fourth wall to juxtapose silliness against sincerity, surrealism against irrational hope. Ultimately presenting a suburban fable in which bad luck and questionable decisions can make or break you and there’s a fine line between the two. Andrews’ vision thus proves itself to be incredibly visceral and poetic and her narrative, charming and hugely moving. Whilst the writing is intelligible, factual and scientifically driven, the personable, charming nature of it balances and warms the heart.

As The Wild Unfeeling World is based on such a renowned piece of literature it is inevitable that Andrews references other great literary works and their authors such as J.M. Barrie and Peter Pan, mentioning Barrie’s theorising on desire paths and Kensington Gardens where it all began, Andrews hiding these gems like intoxicating secrets throughout. Another skilled element is the technical design of the piece, underscoring controlled by Andrews herself, dictates the atmosphere, conveys emotion, moves the plot along and sets the pace, wonderfully enhanced by some dexterous lighting. And when coupled with the directly addressed scientific musings on whales and the world, there is a slight National Theatre: A Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time vibe to it. Clear, sharp and smart, yet relatable and poignant. The sound design is also aptly reflective of the ocean, the setting of the original fable, demonstrating the importance of water to the piece. For instance, Dylan remarks about how she finds tranquility in the Sea Life Centre marvelling at the underwater exhibits, she is also pursued down a body of water (the Thames) past famous war ships by Ahab, in this version, a ginger cat seeking revenge after being clipped by Dylan’s car (Moby Dick – A White Renault Clio), whilst Dylan as aforementioned comes face to face with a Whale in the river, wading in the water and frantically calling for help – symbiotic to her own need for help. In Ahab’s pursuit real water is chaotically utilised. We did say silliness counterbalances the meaning-making.

To conclude, if you want to witness water being thrown, cats seeking revenge and a women on the brink, encapsulated in skilled storytelling, catch The Wild Unfeeling World at Vault Festival this week. Click here to book.

Review: SOLD, Studio (Vault Festival 2020)


Martini Rating: 🍸🍸🍸🍸🍸

Immensely powerful and artistically vibrant! A must see!

Co-produced by Kuumba Nia Arts and Unlock the Chains Collective, SOLD is a thrilling and unimaginably skilful blend of storytelling, song, drumming and dance. Taking inspiration from the storytelling traditions of the West African Griot/Jeli, the work does much to comment upon, embrace and explore the Black Experience and what exactly that means. Charting this through slavery suffered in Bermuda and British Caribbean colonies and more specifically through the eyes of slave, author and abolitionist Mary Prince. SOLD thus recounts Mary’s story, from her birth into slavery in Bermuda in 1788, through her various owners and years of suffering, to her arriving in England and writing a history of her life in 1831, beyond this, to her abolitionism, anti-slavery petition and testifying against brutality to her final disappearance from records in 1833.

The work is irrefutably thematic, affecting, strong and beautiful, written this way by writer and performer Amantha Edmead. Proving herself to be an adept and smart playwright, she cleverly situates the narrative within the moment Mary told her story for it to be transcribed for the purpose of being published. Not only allowing for a fast-paced and dynamic plot, as we explore all of Mary’s major life events, but also bringing immense weight to the significance of the book. As this was the first account of the life of a black women, let alone a complete history of a single slave, the book forming a personable record and example of the atrocities being committed across the empire. The ‘History of Mary Prince’ therefore demarcating the first step in Mary’s own abolitionism, a small, but nevertheless mighty step towards the end of anglo-slavery. Demonstrating not just how rare and important it was that she was given a platform, but also as a place marker for the many hundreds of thousands without a voice who she spoke for and the millions she evidently still speaks for.

Euton Daley’s direction and dramaturgy is inspired. Daley drawing from the fast-paced and thematic nature of Edmead’s writing, brings Mary’s story stubbornly to stage. With the help of Vocal Coach and Song Arranger Ayo-Dele Edwards and Choreographer Lati Saka, Daley creates a coruscating and emotive, truly stellar piece of theatre, where storytelling is ingeniously combined with recurring motifs to truly emote and convey the realities of Mary’s suffering, as well as her fleeting moments of joy. From childlike innocence, to her being Sold and torn from her family, to her endless beatings and gruelling work days, right through to her marriage and yearning to be free. There is something so ritual-like and spiritualistic about this methodology, the work allowing us to to really feel Mary’s pain and exults through the playful and domineering drumming, sorrowful and hopeful singing and strong, yet sometimes pained movement sequences. We experience it with her and that right there, is a true art form.

Edmead’s delivery is equally as captivating, not only is she a consummate storyteller, her characterisation is exquisite and her energy, boundless. Edmead effortlessly and instantaneously bringing to life several variegated characters, as well as measuring her physicality and vocal qualities to astutely demonstrate Mary’s changing age. Whilst Angie Amra Anderson is a fantastic musician, she is a wonderfully dexterous and soulful singer and drummer, providing the necessary glue to keep this piece together. Nomi Everall also deserves high praise for her malleable and symbolic set, the ropes and hanging nooses are wonderfully representative of not only the threat of punishment that hung over slaves, but also of their bindings through a lack of freedom, even when they weren’t bound or chained they were still answerable to their masters and ultimately not free.

For us, the question of whether to see SOLD this week at Vault Fest is a no brainer, go! It’s unique, moving and transcendent. ‘To be free is very sweet’. Click here to book now.


Director/Co-producer: Euton Daley

Writer/Performer: Amantha Edmead

Drummer/ Performer: Angie ‘Amra’ Anderson

Vocal Coach: Ayo-Dele Edwards

Choreographer: Lati Saka

KNA Co – Producer: John Sailsman