REVIEW: Greywing House, Vault Festival ✭✭✭

Last Updated on 6th February 2017

Greywing House at Vault Festival

Greywing House
Vault Festival
1 February 2017
3 Stars

Meanwhile, returning to the stage in The Cavern (part of the main ‘system’ of vaults) was another outing for last year’s delicious work from Molly Beth Morossa: ‘Greywing House’, a not quite modern gothic horror one-woman-show.  Morossa has constructed an ingenious framing narrative: the hostess of an obscure B&B on an island somewhere, dressed in a series of 1940s print dresses, she addresses us as her ‘guests’ for the weekend, and thereby broaches local gossip, scandal, misdemeanours and crimes of increasingly alarming proportions, playing a variety of different parts herself, and letting Andy Goddard’s clever sound design provide the others, while becoming progressively more unhinged as her awful history unfolds:  What brought her to the island?  Why does she stay?  Why can’t she leave?  If the hostelry is not itself part of Royston Vasey, then it is not very far away from it.

Greywing House at Vault Festival

Morossa writes with disarming simplicity – at first.  Naturalistic ease is the order of the day as we begin our amiable introduction to the place.  Then, we notice a slightly picturesque quality to her talk: in fact, we definitely begin to detect a rhythmical pulse, and even rhyme, which ebbs and flows, rather than becomes a persistent feature of the script.  Until, that is, the light suddenly changes, and all at once we are ‘in’ her mind, and a splendid flourish of a poem speaks out to us directly, before the lights snap back to the ‘real’, and we lose that lyrical intensity – for the time being.  Daniel Cross’ music follows similarly varied and unexpected tacks, as do the lovely video projections of Steve Edwin.  But it is Morossa’s eternally inventive exploitation of dramatic techniques, all sewn together with a cabarettist’s practised skill by director Tom Crowley (whose Crowley and Co co-produces with Morossa herself).  Added into this fecund mix is Shealagh White’s beautiful choreography: the proprietress of the establishment has the mime’s ability to achieve stillness and focus, and an occasionally highly expressive manner of performance bursts out of that poise and achieves very pleasing moments of dramatic action.

The choice of location assists the grim spectacle no end, with spaces melting away into the dank, shadowy recesses of the apparently never ending cellars beneath the sprawl of Waterloo station.  Nevertheless, the whole sometimes still feels a little like a clever string of rather spooky and sometimes macabre revue sketches.  Some are lighter in tone, others soak us in the gloom of Edgar Allan Poe, or M R James – particularly the tale of the bride and her lace.  The details are wonderful.  I am sure we will hear more from Molly Beth Morossa.



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