Week 1 was a spectacle, but what about Week 2 of VAULT Festival 2018? Theatre Editor Daniel Perks looks back on the latest round of shows to enter into the subterranean depths:

The dreaded second album fills music artists with dread. The sequel to a bestselling novel is always met with fearful anticipation. Cinema goers take their seats to part two of a film wondering if it can live up to the hype of its predecessor. I wonder if VAULT Festival 2018 has a similar level of anxiety bubbling below the surface.

Week 1 is over and it started this year’s offering off with a bang! We saw just six of the 40 different shows on offer and profiled 10 on Miro‘s website. Three shows got ★★★☆☆ and two got a smashing ★★★★☆. With one show, our theatre editor was so confused he couldn’t give a star rating!

So, will the sequel to Week 1 match up to its older sibling’s realisation? It saw 51 different shows perform over 230 times in the 11 different spaces. Let’s recap Miro‘s thoughts about Week 2:

Profiling female theatre makers

Vault Festival 2018 Double Infemnity

Litlle But Fierce and Paperclip Theatre’s Double Infemnity

Week 2 was once again all about profiling female theatre makers here at Miro. Of the three shows that we saw, over 80% of the cast and creatives were women. Double Infemnity is written by three female writers, a journey into the whirlwind of the crime noir genre, one-woman show style. All the identifying characteristics of the film noir are present, but there’s a twist: the detective is a dame.

Journalist Camille LaPaix checked out this gender flipped production and commends the performance of its actor Katrina Foster, “it takes a lot of subtlety to play a quintessentially male character as a dame without losing any of her femininity”. Unfortunately in this case, despite some clever script work by its trio of writers, Double Infemnity feels female-centric but barely feminist. As the show aptly puts it, “having a vagina doesn’t make you a feminist”.

★★★☆☆

Exquisite melodies

January March Vault Festival 2018 Cat Loud

Cat Loud’s To The End Of The World! (image courtesy of Snookie Mono)

Cat Loud‘s To The End Of The World! is theatre editor Daniel’s new highlight of the festival so far (sorry, Tomorrow Creeps). Receiving its world premiere at VAULT Festival 2018 in Week 2, the forlorn yet sultry tones from jazz and cabaret singer Cat Loud echo around the cavernous chamber, intermingling effortlessly with Fraser Parry‘s cello accompaniment and his rearrangements of some beautifully structured songs. Cat sings about the end of all things as it rushes headlong towards us – the end of the world is nigh, an inevitable apocalypse brought on by the follies of man in our thirst for power and control. Mother Nature got pissed off.

Cat’s vocal drips with sweet honey, yet stings with a sharp, poisonous aftertaste. The exquisite melodies conceal a cutting message. The humour is in the resigned reality of her storytelling – it doesn’t suppress feeling, rather accentuates the futility of it all. To The End Of The World! showcases realism without despair, a clever storytelling exercise that meanders through Cat’s seemingly muddled thoughts and presents them as a cohesive stream of consciousness. It’s elegance without the frills – we bleed with the joy and sorrow of it all.

★★★★☆

Show of Week 2

Vault Festival 2018 Madonna Or Whore

Holly Morgan’s Madonna Or Whore

The Miro Show of Week 2 goes to Madonna Or Whore, which reviewer Camille LePaix describes as,

“a potpourri of stand-up comedy, pop music, history lessons and psychotherapy, peppered – or in this case, well-seasoned – with an exploration of the misogynist and patriarchal aspects of society”.

Madonna or Whore opens with Sigmund Freud, telling us with meta-references and hyperawareness about the Madonna-whore complex, explaining how women are offered only two mutually exclusive identities in the minds of many men. Through Holly Morgan’s authentic comedy, her rather masterful range of voices and a very enthusiastic, though sometimes vaguely neurotic Tom Moores (who should be commended for his Vogue moves), the sixty minutes of the show fly by.

Morgan manages to write about society’s treatment of women, from their attitudes to their pubic hair, with refreshing sincerity and an anger that has been turned into genuine creativity – messy and imperfect but heartfelt, light-hearted and empowering.

★★★★☆

 

 

The VAULT Festival runs until 18 March 2018. For the full programme of events, visit the website here.