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Lyn Gardner's VAULT Festival 2023 Picks: Week 4

Lyn Gardner's VAULT Festival 2023 Picks: Week 4

Lyn Gardner's VAULT Festival 2023 Picks: Week 4 cover photo on Stagedoor
What's caught the attention of our resident critic in the VAULT Festival's fourth week?

Week 4 (February 14-19) of the VAULT Festival looms, and there is plenty to entice theatre-goers to the underground spaces below Waterloo station. First off, how could anyone resist a show called My Period the Cockblock? Not audiences at Camberwell’s Golden Goose Theatre, where Ruth Oyediran’s solo has already had a sell-out run. Besides the title, what’s the lowdown? Oyediran is part of the Royal Court writers group, and the show is directed and dramaturged by Lydia Luke, who was a finalist in the 2021 Women’s Prize for Playwrighting. All good omens, and besides, we don’t talk about menstruation nearly enough.

The annual Camden Fringe sometimes gets overlooked in the hustle and bustle of Edinburgh, so it's good to see Joe Leather’s Wasteman graduating from NW1 to SE1 this week. Leather’s account of being a refuse loader during lockdown uses comedy, music and drag and it comes with an Offie nomination for best show at the Camden Fringe.

From bins to petrol stations. In Hattie Collins’ Kindle, a Devon family are struggling to run a rural petrol station. The play began with a seed commission from Theatre Royal Plymouth and has ACE funding to tour rural communities. Theatre often neglects the realities of rural life, so it's great to see a play about changing communities and the impacts of climate change, government policies and the cost of living crisis on village life.

From Simon Jaggers’ Gun to your Head.

Simon Jaggers’ Gun to your Head has been described by playwright Simon Stephens as, “like a Disco Pigs for England’s ghost hours” and had David Eldridge proclaiming that Jaggers writes with, “precision, wit and humanity.” So now you know why this play about teenage runaways Dakota and Bede is worth a look.

The VAULT Festival has produced some great queer female love stories in previous years, including Juniper and Jules and SAP, so check out Elizabeth Benbow’s How We Begin, about best friends Helen and Diana, who belatedly realise they might want more from each other.

Academics have been able to identify, via their mistakes, some of the different typesetters who worked on the First Folio of Shakespeare’s plays. So who was Compositor E? Nobody knows, but Charlie Dupre’s play, longlisted for the 2022 Bruntwood Prize, puts flesh on the bones with the story of an apprentice typesetter dealing with family trauma and so prone to errors.

Cover image from Ruth Oyediran’s My Period the Cockblock.

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Lyn Gardner

New tips and reviews every week. If you're looking for innovative theatre, you've come to the right place.
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