Posts with the label the vaults
Showing posts with label the vaults. Show all posts
Showing posts with label the vaults. Show all posts

Friday, 27 September 2019

Shida, The Vaults | Review


Shida
The Vaults 
Reviewed on Thursday 26th September 2019 by Olivia Mitchell 
★★★★

Combining jazz, R&B, gospel and rock music, Shida tells the story of a young African American girl who dreams of becoming a writer. Written and performed by Jeannette Bayardelle and directed by Tony Award winning producer Andy Sandberg, this UK premiere is exciting, truthful and special. 

The beaming yellow posters lining the walls of the Vaults may lead you to think you are in for a shiny, feel-good show, but that's not quite true. This is a stark look at a woman who suffers a variety of injustices and prejudices before finding the light at the end of the tunnel. There's light and shade and an emotional journey which will tug at your heartstrings but continually entertain.

This is a quick paced show, which at 75 minutes really does pack in a lifetime of drama. At times it feels too much is being focussed on, and the audience aren't given a moment to process and sometimes things get jumbled, but for a debut this is very good.

Clancy Flynn's lighting design is fantastically expressive, with some striking moments; and Charlie Corcoran's simple design is a great backdrop for an emotional show. Under the musical direction of Noam Galperin the bank tackle the varied score with energy and fizz.

Bayardelle is a quadruple threat indeed, having both written and performed this show. Her voice is the definition of power and she siiiiiings throughout, however her writing leaves a little to be desired. Whilst the story is striking, the text and song lyrics often describe as opposed to show. Instead of allowing the audience to draw out the meaning themselves, they are almost spoon fed the plot. This does give the show an unsophisticated feel at times but thanks to Bayardelle's fantastic characterisation and performance, everything is still highly entertaining. 

It's rare to see such a provocative performance from a stellar performer in such an intimate space and it's worth taking a trip just for the bragging rights of seeing Bayardelle up close.

photo credit: Helen Maybanks

Shida, The Vaults | Review

Friday, 27 September 2019

Monday, 29 July 2019

Games for Lovers, The Vaults | Review


Games for Lovers
The Vaults
Reviewed on Friday 26th July 2019 by Olivia Mitchell 
★★★★

Making its world premiere at The Vaults underneath Waterloo station, Games For Lovers examines the fast-paced, complicated, often embarrassing and downright tough topic of love and how it fits into a modern world.

The play, written by Ryan Craig follows four individuals looking for love, a connection or just someone to spend the night with. The incredibly talented actors are energetic and dynamic throughout, with many memorable moments, however, at times the dialogue does feel a little claggy. The interludes of playful, almost game-like scenes are entertaining but seem somewhat like games that would be played in the rehearsal room. That's not to say they aren't enjoyable to watch, but they have minimal effect on the storyline and therefore feel detrimental to the pacing of the play.

The small cast are really outstanding though. Calum Callaghan is believable and relatable as Logan as he struggles with his emotions and the pressures to have a relationship. Tessie Orange-Turner is completely in charge of the stage in the entirety of her scenes. A masterful actor, her subtle mannerisms, facial expressions and gestures convey a boat load of subtext behind each line of dialogue. She has fantastic chemistry with the other three; the role-play scene with Callaghan is particularly entertaining.


Evanna Lynch is beautifully warm as Martha, consistently bringing an aura of sincerity whilst also providing spades of humour. Billy Postlethwaite is  utterly fantastic as the charismatic, often non-pc but always humourous Darren, who is imbued with both energy and vulnerability.

Simon Scullion's vibrant and playful set with Ben and Max Ringham's sound and Matt Haskins' lighting, all add to the dynamic of the show and make it feel like a mix of game show and Netflix rom-com. Overall it feels very of the moment and perfectly fitting for millennials today.

Whilst there is definitely some room to make all four characters fully rounded and cohesive, this is a fantastic debut for Games for Lovers. The cast are clearly tight knit and thanks to Anthony Banks' strong direction, everyone provides a comfortable, enjoyable and fun performance.

Games for Lovers isn't going to leave you questioning your life choices but it will leave you beaming from an utterly hilarious and fantastically enjoyable two hours.

Games For Lovers plays at The Vaults until August 25th

photo credit: Geraint Lewis

Games for Lovers, The Vaults | Review

Monday, 29 July 2019

Thursday, 27 June 2019

Bare: A Pop Opera, The Vaults | Review


Bare: A Pop Opera
The Vaults
Reviewed on Wednesday 26th June 2019 by Olivia Mitchell 
★★★

Bare is a pop-rock chronicle of ill-fated gay love at a Roman Catholic boarding school. It focusses on issues including bullying, depression, homophobia and stigmatisation. The score is often touching and intricate and the young cast mostly do a fantastic job of performing it earnestly. 

Having premiered off-Broadway and receiving various productions around the world, the show has gained a considerable cult following so this London production has been highly anticipated. Showing at Waterloo's Vaults, the theatrical experience is somewhat immersive as the action comes at you from all angles. Whilst most of the time this is effective, at moments the novelty of peering through heads to see what's going on does wear off, and the large, long stage feels underused.

Personally the pacing of this show is what lets it down. Act one is all about the set up and then everything major happens in act two. For this reason there are times, especially in the first half, where you feel uninvested. However, there are moments which stand out, namely Georgie Lovatt who is making her professional debut in the show, before she graduates. Her touching and humourous portrayal of Nadia is marvellous to see and she provides outstanding vocals to match.


Lizzie Emery gives a well rounded performance as Ivy and beautifully highlights the internal struggles many people face growing up. Her well nuanced performance is furthered by her fantastic solo, All Grown Up in act 2 which is a goosebump-inducing vocal powerhouse moment. Tom Hier is wonderfully motivated as Matt and gives a magnetic performance whenever he is on stage.

As the lead couple, Daniel Mack Shand (Peter) and Darragh Crowley (Jason) have a simmering relationship. Whilst facing the struggles of being oppressed for their sexuality and struggling to come out to those around them, it's clear they are trying to use their love to keep them grounded. Whilst there are moments of clear affection between them, most of the time they feel a little disconnected. The audience never really see a pure moment of love between them all because there's always something going on with them. Whilst of course this is partly the point, it does mean we root for the pair less. However, Darragh Crowley's performance is excellent both vocally and acting wise.

Andrew Ellis' lighting is effective, mostly so in the second act. The angelic murals on the wall are lit up at crucial times and the contrasts between cool and warm are well done.

Overall this is a musical of two halves. The performances are strong and the music itself is extremely clever and mostly engaging, but at the same time there are moments that drag. For fans of Bare this is a must to tick off your list, but I suspect it will be a bit of a marmite show.

photo credit: Tom Grace


Bare: A Pop Opera, The Vaults | Review

Thursday, 27 June 2019

Thursday, 24 May 2018

In Conversation With... Freya Parks | Teddy | Interview

Teddy runs at the Vaults until June 3rd, it is an innovative show which not only showcases the actors on stage, but also the musicians. One of whom is Freya Parks who talked to us all about her experience with the show...




Teddy is such a fun show, it must be amazing to be a part of! Have you had a favourite moment so far?
Yeah it's a complete dream to be playing rock 'n' roll on a stage! 

Looking back I think my favourite moment was probably when everything came together the first time we performed to an audience. That was when we all realised how wild and intricate and special what we'd created really was. That's always a good feeling. 


For anyone that hasn't seen the show, can you explain what it's about and how you fit into it? 

It's about a Teddy boy and Teddy girl (Teddy and Josie) and the adventures they have during a rainy Saturday night in Elephant and Castle in 1956. After their paths cross, they discover they're both massive fans of an American band called Johnny Valentine & the Broken Hearts and so do anything they can however risky to get into their gig. Then everything kicks off... 

I play Jenny O'Malley, the bassist, a lady with sass who keeps her boys (fellow band mates) in line! 


Teddy is set in the 50s, if you could transport to any other era, when would you go to and why? 
I could quite easily spend every night at a Weimar Cabaret in the 20s. Thinking about it, the 20s and 50s were both quite wild times as there was a similar post-war attitude of making the best from nothing, living in the moment and partying amongst the rubble. They must've been exhilarating times to live in. 


You not only get to play live during the show, but also after the show. What's been your best audience reaction post-show? 

The audiences always impress us with their dancing but there was one particular Friday night during our cover of Johnny B. Goode when a guy - who was joyously reliving his youth - jumped up onto Johnny Valentine's platform, grabbed the microphone and sang the rest of the song to perfection! I'm really glad there's video footage... 



In 5 words, can you tell us why people should come and see Teddy? 
Female-empowering, gritty, nostalgic, heartfelt....ROCKIN'!!! 


If you had a magic wand, which show would you do next? 

I recently read Teeth 'n' Smiles by David Hare. It's a bit like Teddy but a decade later! I'd love to have a bash at that. 


What's your number one piece of advice for aspiring performers? 

If it's really what you want to do, keep going no matter what and whenever you hit a lull, surround yourself with other creative things - just keep your mind active! You never know what's round the corner. 

Thank you so much Freya for taking the time to do this interview. Teddy runs at The Vaults until 3rd June.

Interview by Editor, Olivia Mitchell

In Conversation With... Freya Parks | Teddy | Interview

Thursday, 24 May 2018

Friday, 6 April 2018

Teddy, The Vaults | Review


Teddy 
The Vaults 
Reviewed on Thursday 5th April 2018 by Olivia Mitchell 
★★★★

Personally, I think The Vaults is one of the most brilliant venues in London. Not only because it's home to some wonderful shows but because it is so versatile. Every time I've visited the mystical underground theatre, I've been overwhelmed by how different it looks. Set designer Max Dorey has done an outstanding job of transforming the space for Teddy into a cool, rustic, junkyard with so much to look at. From a (creepy) doll in the corner, to a car bumper, to a giant T, every detail has been meticulously picked out and the small space feels vast but homely at the same time.

Now onto the show. Teddy tells the story of two young teens, Josie and Teddy who are out for a good night in London town. It's a story about the birth of new music and the rebellious youths of 1956. Featuring a live onstage band 'Johnny Valentine and the Broken Hearts', this show is fresh, exciting and energetic.

The ridiculously talented duo Molly Chesworth (Josie) and George Parker (Teddy) take on this unique script with such ease and grace that it seems they were born to play the roles. The story is written using rhyme as well as normal speech which makes it jumpy but lyrical at the same time. Both actors speak the poetic text so naturally that you forget it's not a 'normal' way of speaking. Adding to this, they also take on the roles of all the other characters. Twisting and contorting their bodies and voices to become the other people they are very effective. 


The story line is pretty simple and I must admit that I did find the first half dragged somewhat but the second act has a Bonnie and Clyde feel and there are unexpected twists and turns. If I were to change something, I would cut some of the earlier dialogue and make the show 90 or so minutes straight thought. I think this would keep the pace going and not allow time for our minds to wander.

Tom Jackson Greaves' and Eleanor Rhode's choreography is perfectly fitting with the show and had me out of breath just watching! The movements work very well in the small space and manage to convey the excitement of the era of change in terms of clothes, music and everything else.

The onstage band are wonderful. Made up of Freya Parks, Dylan Wood, Andrew Gallo and Harrison White, they provide a soundtrack of original music (by Dougal Irvine) which has us tapping our feet and feeling truly immersed in the era. The post-show gig is an innovative and joyous way to end your night- I'd definitely pay to see Johnny Valentine and the Broken Hearts on a sold out arena tour!

Teddy is an innovative show which uses everything it has to it's advantage whilst showcasing fantastic musicians, incredible actors and an exciting story. Like nothing else I've recently seen, Teddy is the refreshing show you need to get a ticket for. Get "ready Teddy to go" along to The Vaults and don't miss this show!

Teddy runs at The Vaults until June 3rd 2018

photo credit: Scott Rylander

Teddy, The Vaults | Review

Friday, 6 April 2018

Friday, 30 March 2018

Trainspotting Live, The Vaults | Review


Trainspotting Live 
The Vaults 
Reviewed on Thursday 29th March 2018 by Olivia Mitchell 
★★★★

Crude, disgusting, shocking, amazing, outstanding. Just a few words to describe this mental but incredible production. Trainspotting Live, based on Irvine Welsh's 1993 book, follows a group of heroin addicts on their journey through life in an economically depressed part of Edinburgh.

I must admit, when I was handed my fluorescent wristband and shown into the space thumping with techno music like an underground rave, I was a little (okay a lot) scared. This fear remained with me for the first part of the show; my heart was racing and I was shocked and slightly appalled at what was going on. Having never seen or read Trainspotting Live, I had zero idea of what to expect but oh boy was I pleasantly surprised. 

Sure this show is crazily abrasive and probably offensive to a lot of people but it's also funny, authentic, moving and inventive. The 75 minute performance is visceral and as long as you have an open mind that's ready to be shocked then it's totally for you.


This show is not for the faint of heart though. Lets just say that the actors are not the only people involved in the action of Trainspotting Live, so beware. Especially if you find yourself sat next to the dirtiest toilet known to man, or in the firing line of the of the products hurled out of it. This story is immersive and innovative whilst still capturing reality and being relatable for the people of today.

This darkly comic show has no boundaries and freely approaches nudity, drugs and sex. The young actors do a fantastic job of bringing this all to the audience and their free, energetic performances and blunt portrayal of addiction which will resonate and stay with you after the show. I felt so immersed that coming out  was like waking up and having to readjust to the world.

From a technical standpoint, Trainspotting Live is outstanding. The entire cast of actors put their absolute all into every single moment and it honestly feels as though they're experiencing the whole show for the first time. Frankie O'Connor's performance as Renton particularly stands out but there is not a weak link in the cast. 


The lighting design by Clancy Flynn is inventive, with the strobe lights used at the end creating a disorientating but mesmerising effect and Tom Lishman's sound design is constant enough that it blends in and becomes a part of the show instead of being a layer added on top just for the sake of it.

There are gasps, laughs and pained silences throughout and the full spectrum of emotions are truly explored. For a visceral and moving performance, like nothing else then please go and see Trainspotting Live. You'll be left feeling slightly drained, extremely shocked and really really wanting to go and clean yourself but it'll be worth it!

Trainspotting Live is at The Vaults until June 3rd before heading to New York.

Trainspotting Live, The Vaults | Review

Friday, 30 March 2018

Friday, 2 March 2018

Bismillah! An Isis Tragicomedy, Vault Festival | Review


Bismillah! An Isis Tragicomedy
The Vaults
Reviewed on Thursday 1st March 2018 by Nicola Louise 
★★★★

I’ve never really been a fan of shows with a single set (or no set in this case) and two people. It always seemed a bit boring (not that it was the actors fault, the writing was just not up to scratch), so when I decided to attend Bismillah! An Isis Tragicomedy I was little apprehensive.

Currently being shown as part of The Vault Festival at Waterloo, the tunnels provide the perfect setting for what is meant to be a holding cell controlled by Isis- as you walk in and take your seat there’s already something happening. A solider is tied to a pole in the middle of the stage with a bag over his head, he’s struggling and the action begins.

Bismillah, written by Matthew Grenhough -who also plays the prisoner of Isis- is a perfect mix of comedy and true horror. The IS solider played by Elliot Liburd arrives with food and water and the show starts; conversation flows between the two soldiers and they find themselves bonding over shifts at Wetherspoons and a £4.39 meal deal at the airport.

It soon becomes clear however, that Liburd’s character has some issues with himself. As he starts to lose his temper, you can see the confidence in Grenhough’s character leave his body as he suddenly becomes a terrified little boy.

Both actors performed Grenhough's thought-provoking script well, asking the questions: How well do you really know somebody? How different are we to them? Just because the news reports one thing does it make it true?

Never before have I been gripped so much in 75 minutes watching a conversation between two people than I have seeing this show. As this show was first staged in 2015 a few things are a little out dated but still work. Even the over use of pop culture but that’s what makes this show what it is.

Bismillah! An Isis Tragicomedy is currently showing at the Vault Festival until the 4th March 2018. Get your tickets quick.

Bismillah! An Isis Tragicomedy, Vault Festival | Review

Friday, 2 March 2018

Friday, 16 February 2018

YOU, Vault Festival | Review


YOU
VAULT Festival
Reviewed on Thursday 15th February 2018 by Shaun Dicks
★★★★

We find ourselves in The Pit at the Vault Festival, the sound of trains passing over the theatre and the background noise of excited theatrical crowds. The Pit is a brick and concrete theatre, completed with wooden benches, set up in Traverse, giving it a rustic feel. Tonight’s viewing is You, a narrative based story about adoption. We follow the story of a woman who falls pregnant in her teens and puts up her child for adaption. We then follow the story of the child growing up with their adoptive family. This all builds to the adopted child starting to search for his birth mother. 

Mark Wilson’s script is a feast of language. The story and the language is a joy to behold- giving the actors so much to work with. The script is littered with beautiful language, flowing narrative, seamless transitions and humour. The story is so well told by Kathryn O’Reilly and Stephen Myott-Meadows. Their portrayal of such a raw and tender story are near pitch perfect, with both performers giving a well rounded and focused performance.


Ultimately O’Reilly shines the brightest, with her heartfelt and honest portrayal of her characters. The direction from Sarah Meadows is also a highlight, in a space that is plagued with restrictions, she maximises its usage and effectiveness to elevate the piece as a whole. The shows use of music (composed by Benedict Taylor), underscoring the majority of the piece gave a big screen feel, almost giving the audience cues on how to feel during those moments.

You is a beautiful story of love, loss, family and what family is defined as. It’s truly an emotional play that doesn’t shy away from the truth. I personally would love to see a extended version of this play as I feel there is more of this story to be told. I hope there is another run for You, as this story needs to be expressed and deserves to be heard. 

If you can, get yourself down to the Vault Festival and see You, you’ll be doing yourself a favour.

photo credit: Nick Rutter


YOU, Vault Festival | Review

Friday, 16 February 2018

Thursday, 12 October 2017

Hair, The Vaults | Review


Hair
The Vaults
Reviewed on Wednesday 11th October 2017 by Olivia Mitchell 

First premiering on Broadway in 1967, Hair is about hippies, the anti-war movement, LGBTQ+ rights, Black Lives Matter, women’s equality and so much more; themes which sadly still resonate with us 50 years later.

Although I’d never seen a production of Hair, many of the songs were familiar to me and I felt as if I’d almost been born knowing them! Whilst I wasn’t part of the ‘Hair Generation’ (I wasn’t born for another 30 years) I feel that this production has reinvented it and definitely made it perfect for my generation as well as those younger than me. The setting is historical but it’s been cleverly entwined with the modern world and the parallels to the youth of today to make it extremely pertinent.

The Vaults at Waterloo have been transformed into a colourful, relaxed, hippy den which provides the perfect vibe and atmosphere for the performance and certainly puts everyone in the right mind set for what they're about to experience. It feels immersive but not over the top.

Hair is musically brilliant, it's songs have been performed by some huge artists and it's become a source of inspiration for many composers. The rhythmic music pairs with the story wonderfully and manages to be funny, powerful and clever all at once. These feelings are of course exemplified by the outstanding performances from the cast, especially during the finale: 'Let The Sun Shine In' which becomes a sort of battle cry and is really very moving.

Leading the plot we have Robert Metson as Claude who's been enlisted into the army. His vocals are strong, he gives a heartfelt performance and shows his transition from the free life to the life he lives for his country extremely well. Fresh from his stint in Yank!, Andy Coxon takes on the role of the carefree, larger than life Berger with grace and ease and is especially funny during his moments of audience interaction. Laura Johnson brings an innocence to Sheila which is touching to see and really draws you into her character and her rendition of 'Easy To Be  Hard' was particularly memorable.

A special mention must go to Natalie Green (Cassie/Mom) who's solo and ensemble vocal moments are completely out of this world. Her clear, powerful voice both when belting and  singing in a more classical style is faultless, her natural performance draws the eye at various points and she's a joy to watch on stage. The entire cast are great and work seamlessly together to create the idyllic and harmonious feeling.

Hair is more than a show, its an experience. This production is fresh and striking and certain to be loved by audiences during its run. So let the sun shine into your life and go see this show for a night of youthful, uninhibited freedom, expression and love. After all, the world could do with a little more love these days!

Hair runs at The Vaults until 3rd December 2017

photo credit: Claire Bilyard

Hair, The Vaults | Review

Thursday, 12 October 2017