Having had a successful run at the Edinburgh fringe 2017, Glitter Punch makes its London transfer to the VAULT Festival, where it still surpasses expectations and leaves the audience with a variety of questions on morality and ethics.

Glitter Punch introduces the main protagonist, Molly (Emily Stott), as a sixteen-year-old college student with a very problematic upbringing. The troubled teen has never had a serious relationship, but when one day she meets John (Anthony Fagan) at the smoking shelter, Molly instantly falls for his southern charm and feels something that she has never felt before. The romance flourishes as the audience learn more about John’s life, all of which brings the seemingly innocent pair further together – both disclose intimate details of their past. However, one fatal day travelling back from an amorous time watching the sun rise, the world turns upside down for the unlucky pairing.

A rollercoaster of emotions flows throughout the intimate theatre space. As Molly, Stott is a likeable character, able to make the audience laugh out loud with her witty one-liners and relaxing Northern patter. However, as the story progresses, the humorous nature takes a backseat so that more serious issues can be looked at. What makes Glitter Punch so entertaining to watch is that throughout these emotional scenes, Molly never loses her playfulness and wisecracking personality. Stott makes it so easy for an audience to want the best for her – Peter Taylor‘s direction ensure that the raw emotion shown on that stage is at its most powerful.

Lucy Burke’s play takes the format of a series of diary entries, a clever structure that re-enforces the idea of Molly as still just a vulnerable teenage girl. Being from Molly’s perspective, the audience get to witness how she feels about John without preconception and judge the two characters both as individuals and eventually as a couple. Stott’s character is set up as an outsider, someone who doesn’t blend well with society; John acts as a comfort blanket whom she can share her problems with. This connection morphs in the final scene to something quite haunting, with a sinister overtone – Molly narrates the couple’s plans while John’s hand grips her shoulder – a metaphor for the control that he now has.

It’s difficult to decide how to feel about the two characters. On one side, the relationship blossoms and it is clear that the two have a strong connectionl. However, looking back after learning the truth about John clouds this love story with a foreboding tone. Glitter Punch tackles a difficult topic perfectly – a well acted, unique perspective of the scenario. Burke allows the audience to form their own opinions, questioning the morality of the situation.

 

 

★★★★☆

Glitter Punch runs as part of the VAULT Festival until 4 March 2018. For further information, please visit the venue website.