THEATRE REVIEW: Hip, Vault Festival

running until 5 February 

The Vault Festival has returned to its subterranean home under Waterloo station for a fifth year, once again fillings its buzzing spaces with a varied programme. My first taste of this year’s festival was Hip by Kriya Arts, a fascinating hour taking a peek into a stranger’s life, which reveals as much about the creator of the show as its subject.

hip-c-kriya-arts-3As with previous Kriya Arts shows, this is an ‘extra live’ performance, meaning – in a similar way to a relaxed performance – the audience are free to make noise, move around and even take photos. We’re also encouraged to get actively involved in the shaping of the show, choosing which elements to explore and reading extracts of letters or diaries. It makes the whole feel of the show more relaxed and instantly draws the audience together in a united experience; as well as a more accessible kind of theatre, this also suits the show’s subject matter as we are invited into the living room of a squat, making our way into the building after an introduction outside The Vaults front entrance.Read More »

CAMDEN FRINGE REVIEW: Swipe, Hen and Chickens Theatre

running until 21 August

Swipe - Camden FringeIn their debut performance, the New Match Collective presents an honest, straight-talking appraisal of the 2016 dating scene. From Tinder to OKCupid; from obsessing over which punctuation to use, to sending (or not sending) nudes; and from the thrill of a first date, to the utter desolation of heartbreak when it all ends – six women share the highs and lows of modern romance.

The performances are all engaging, with stand-outs from Lisa Ashby and Sarah MacKenzie, and we immediately warm to their frank and funny anecdotes of negotiating swiping, messaging and dating. Read More »

CAMDEN FRINGE REVIEW: The Real Girl, Tristan Bates Theatre

running until 20 August

The Real Girl - Camden FringeCherise Stefanie returns to the stage as The Curious Girl, The Sexy Girl, The Have-It-All Girl, The Lonely Girl and, eventually, The Real Girl. Her smorgasbond of trips down memory lane encompasses glitter, dance routines, nail-painting, break-ups and more in a reflection on what has made her the woman she is today.

On her opening night, Stefanie’s performance does come across as a little nervous; her patter with the audience is occasionally stilted and she seeks to explain away the few technical niggles or props errors that creep in, rather than continuing her flow. It would be wonderful to see her hone her stage presence a bit more, as all the ingredients are here for a successful show.Read More »

CAMDEN FRINGE REVIEW: The Fellowship, Hen and Chickens Theatre

running until 19 August

Camden Fringe pigeonSet in a pub and staged in a pub, The Fellowship is the latest work from Hodgson Creed Productions, who specialise in telling the stories of the storytellers – in this case of C.S. Lewis and J.R.R. Tolkien, creators of Narnia and Middle Earth.

Written by Brian Hodgson (co-founder of the company), this new work visits Lewis and Tolkien (or Jack and Tollers, as we come to know them as) in the fledgling days of their friendship, Read More »

PREVIEW: Camden Fringe – Theatre

The Camden Fringe has been playing for a week with plenty of theatre, comedy and more popping up all over the borough. You can find out more about the festival here, and catch up on the comedy highlights here, but below is a run-down of some of the theatre programme continuing throughout August:

Sonder – The Cockpit | 6-8 August

This piece of physical theatre focuses on the concept of ‘sonder’ – the realisation that each stranger and passer-by is living a life as vivid and complex as your own. Centrality theatre company are presenting the piece in conjunction with Birmingham charity St Basil’s to raise awareness of homelessness in Britain. Performers Grace Bussey and Rosanna Stanton told me “it’s about opening your mind to the people around you on the street. You can see the same people everyday and you never talk to them and don’t register what’s going on with them.” It’s a striking concept to bring to London, notoriously the city where no-one speaks to each other on the tube, and it will be interesting to see how the show link this idea with the aim raising awareness for the homeless.  The company is made up of recent graduates from the Birmingham School of Acting, and Sonder is their debut production. Catch them at The Cockpit tomorrow night for their final show. More information here.

Garden of Eden – Hen and Chickens | 8-9 August

Garden of Eden - Hen and ChickensThis contemporary adaptation of the Adam and Eve story is all centred on power struggles within a relationship and had a rehearsed reading at the Rag Factory a couple of years ago. Read More »