As London’s Vault Festival  moves into its penultimate week, Fergus Morgan picks out five highlights to catch…
A Hundred Words for Snow
Tatty Hennessy’s one-woman play won the Heretic Voices playwriting competition last year, selected from more than 1,000 entries by a panel including Michael Billington, Lolita Chakrabarti, Monica Dolan and Mel Kenyon. It was the pick of a triple-bill of winning monologues staged by Heretic Productions in January at the Arcola . This is a different production of the same text, one of three directed by Lucy Jane Atkinson at this year’s festival. It will be intriguing to see another interpretation of this touching and tremendously funny story about a young girl journeying to the North Pole in order to scatter her father’s ashes.
Founded in 2013, Oli Forsyth’s Smoke and Oakum Theatre is making a name for itself as a young company focused on new writing. It was behind 2016 Edinburgh Fringe hit Happy Dave , and recently had a well-received run at the New Diorama – it’s a member of that venue’s Emerging Artists Programme – with Kings . Cornermen was its 2015 Edinburgh success, and it plays at Vault for two nights in the middle of a national tour. The Stage’s Stewart Pringle called it “a smart and immensely enjoyable play set in the hyper-competitive world of UK pro boxing”.
Another hit from last year’s Edinburgh Fringe, Follow Suit  is a darkly funny satire on the world of high finance from London-based physical theatre specialists Silent Faces. It sees four besuited performers skewer the corporate culture by pulling grotesque grimaces at a fluctuating stock market, by turning office rituals into bizarre ballets, and by emphasising the absurdity of life in the City’s skyscrapers. It’s all “marvellously comic and compelling”, according to The Stage’s Anna Winter.
Kate Goodfellow’s RedBellyBlack Theatre won a People’s Choice Award at last year’s Vault Festival for A Year from Now, which weaved conversations with 14 people into a fascinating show involving movement and audio narration. RedBellyBlack is back this year, premiering a new show called Ok, Bye, which uses physical theatre and storytelling to explore what we really mean when we say goodbye.
Award-winning Anglo-American-French physical theatre company Les Foules team up with performer and comedian Giselle LeBleu for this new experimental show. Inspired by CaShawn Thompson’s #BlackGirlMagic movement, by the struggle of life as a jobbing actor, and by Whoopi Goldberg’s appearance in the 1990 movie Ghost, The Year of the Rooster Monk is a show that “challenges and celebrates the fault lines of identity”.