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Vault Festival 2018: Our pick of the best shows to see in week two

James Rowland in Revelations
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After an opening salvo of musicals about The Rock and Bitcoin-funded darknet dramas, London’s Vault Festival swings into its second week with a smorgasbord of new shows taking up residence underneath Waterloo, from darkly humorous horror to tales of friendship. Fergus Morgan picks out five highlights to catch.

1. Revelations

A Hundred Different Words for Love review at Vault, London – ‘bittersweet and carefully crafted’

James Rowland broke all our hearts with 2016’s Team Viking, then put them back together again with 2017’s A Hundred Different Words for Love. Revelations is the third and final instalment in his storytelling cycle Songs of Friendship, which has hitherto combined quirky metatheatrical comedy, raw emotion and delightfully hummable tunes to devastating effect. Expect to laugh through the tears with this story of what happened when James’ friends asked him for his sperm.

2. Lamplighters

Lamplighters. Photo: Dean Rodgers

Neil Connolly has been involved in some of the biggest interactive theatre hits of the last few years, including DifferencEngine’s Heist and The Crystal Maze. His first solo work, Lamplighters, is inspired by the Cold War spy novels of John le Carre. It’s part improv show, part interactive story, and part immersive game, apparently, using audience suggestions to root out the mole lurking in the audience’s midst.

3. Vanishing Mankind

Theatre directors Simon Evans and David Aula team up again to perform in a sequel (of sorts) to their slippery 2016 success The Vanishing Man. It’s pretty tough to glean anything from the baffling show description, but expect ingenuity and intelligence from these two and their “time-travelling, mind-manipulating, species-saving examination of what really happens when mankind, in full sight of an audience, simply ceases to be”.

4. Evros/The Crossing River

Devised by international collective Seemia, this immersive piece attempts to connect audiences with the realities of the refugee crisis using physical theatre. Focusing on the plight of a young Syrian woman as she flees her home town, it uses music and dance to weave a composite portrait of life and love during the harshness and horror of civil war.

5. Double Infemnity

All-female companies Little But Fierce, who had a hit last year with feminist sex comedy Puppy, and Paperclip Theatre collaborate for the first time on this one-woman, crime noir adventure. Simultaneously parodying and paying homage to the genre, Double Infemnity subverts the classic tropes in giving us a female protagonist searching for a disappeared detective on the seedy streets of 1960s LA.

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