Mark Ludmon looks at the Vault Festival 2020 and highlights some of the productions in the first two weeks of the festival.
More than 600 shows fill the eight-week programme of this year’s Vault Festival which runs in Waterloo in London between 28 January and 22 March 2020. From comedy to family shows, it’s a chance to catch hits from Edinburgh fringe and other festivals as well as works in progress, but it’s also a showcase of new theatre from the most exciting new writers, companies and performers. In our first preview, Mark Ludmon picks out some of the new shows starting in the first two weeks of the festival from 28 January to 9 February.
Theatre company The Thelmas, who are behind previous fringe hits such as Ladykiller, tell the story of the friendship between two young women in pre-partition India in new show Santi & Naz by Guleraana Mir and Afshan D’souza-Lodhi. The Vaults: 28 January to 2 February.
Female-led theatre company Popelei returns with a new show, Push, which takes a mischievous look at the “existential crisis” of motherhood, promising blisteringly honest confessions and vibrant dance theatre. Network Theatre: 28 January to 2 February.
After her success at Edinburgh Fringe, performer and writer Amy Gwilliam has adapted her satirical and subversive work, Frankie Foxstone aka The Profit: Walking Tour, for the streets of London. Follow Frankie as she takes you on a tour of her plans for Waterloo. Vehicle Venues: 28 January to 2 February.
Actor Sophia Capasso debuts her new play Void in which a young woman grapples between reality and imagination in an exploration of mental health and the challenges of modern life. The Vaults: 28 January to 2 February.
Vault Festival offers some brilliant theatre for families including The Misadventures of David and Sam. Set on the farm, it offers “a kaleidoscope of physical debauchery”, completely chaotic magic and a unique little love story with a cow down. The Vaults: 2 to 23 February.
The Grim is an interactive immersive adventure where you become a freelance “reaper” on the hunt for souls refusing to pass over, exploring the Vaults’ tunnels. Directed by Liam Fleming, it is the work of Quietly Fighting Theatre, a specialist in site-specific and immersive work that explores human rights, LGBTQ+ and social issues. Vehicle Venues: 4 to 16 February.
Set against the decline of Britain’s fishing industry, In My Lungs the Ocean Swells is a coming-of-age story about holding onto who you think you are in a changing world. It has been created by new theatre company No More Superheroes formed by Maya Ellis, Tash Hyman and Natasha Kaeda and stars Jack Brownridge-Kelly and Jenny Walser. The Vaults: 4 to 9 February.
Set in the near future as the climate crisis takes hold, Me Myself I present a young woman whose clone is faced with the challenge of creating meaning in a world that is disappearing. It is written by Carla Grauls, directed by Andrew Twyman and produced by Holly White. The Vaults: 4 to 9 February.
With live foley and horror tricks inspired by the gruesome theatre of Grand-Guignol, new show Gorgon: A Horror Story promises jump scares and some well-placed gore. Award-winning comedian and clown Elf Lyons tells the story of a taxidermist who loses her temper and decides to experiment with the human form. The Vaults: 5 to 9 February.
Northern Stage, based in Newcastle upon Tyne, will showcase four north-east companies in its first takeover at Vault Festival. The first, called And She, from Bonnie and the Bonnettes, is “part gig, part our mums’ living rooms”, delving into motherhood, womanhood and femininity through conversations with their mums. Circ Motif’s The Art of Cuddling and Other Things combines contemporary circus theatre and narrative to explore human connection and isolation. Melody Sproates’s *Gender Not Included is about navigating a trans/non-binary experience in a world that does not fully understand it. Along with all-female comedy sketch group Your Aunt Fanny with Minge Unhinged, they run at The Vaults across 4 to 9 February.
In Sister!, two nurses in 2030 look back at the nurses who have come before them, celebrating and fighting for the NHS. Using physical theatre and verbatim text, it comes from female-led activist company Rosa’s Assembly. The Vaults: 8 and 15 February.
FacePlant Theatre, the team behind hit family show One Duck Down, are back with Big Bones. Set in the Big Bones Big Top Circus, it features puppetry, original songs, an all-female cast and a psychic octopus. The Vaults: 8 to 16 February.