Studio – The Vaults
Reviewed – 13th February
“has the right foundations, but could do with fleshing things out further”
Scripped Up theatre company are making their voice known at the VAULT Festival this year, championing the work of D/deaf, disabled, and neurodivergent artists. Tinted, their debut one-woman performance, written by disabled playwright Amy Bethan Evans, cracks open the lid of life with an impairment with honesty and humour.
Laura’s still living at home with her parents. They still drive her places and wipe her face. Laura’s friends aren’t doing that. They’re living their best twenty-something lives, flat sharing and having sex whenever they want. Laura wants those sorts of things. But so far her disability has made things tricky. So has her last relationship which took an unexpected turn. With flashbacks to childhood and her teens, Laura builds up a picture of events that make her the person she is today, as well questioning the current climate of #MeToo, and where her voice as a disabled person lies within it.
As thought provoking and arresting as Tinted is, the final execution of the piece doesn’t quite live up to what I think it wants to achieve. Even though you get an appreciation of what it’s like living without full ability, and seeing how sexual discrimination can affect absolutely anyone, the story gets a bit stuck in the mud, until the apex of the monologue is reached towards the end. The characters development and revelation could be stronger and more precise. The jumping in time works effectively, however, the jumping in subject matter can be jarring and confusing. Amy Bethan Evans strength is in creating a world of nostalgia. The cultural references of the late Nineties/early Noughties gets huge chuckles of remembrance from the audience.
Charlotte Eyres as Laura is “cool. And cute”. To quote what Laura’s friends think of her. There’s an endearing quality that makes her likeable to watch, with an effortless funny bone. The emotional climax she hits spot on, with an honest believability. Eyres comes across rather natural throughout, it feels like a verbatim piece at times. One small criticism is Eyre’s habit of constantly tucking her hair behind her ear, a nervous tick, or a character choice, it’s uncertain. Not to sound nit-picky, but it happens so often it becomes distracting.
This long-form monologue requires no set other than a chair. The power and vividness is in the words, in the story. More interesting choices could have been made with the one and only prop, or it may have been better to have just left it static, as some occasions the chair would be moved for no apparent reason, becoming off putting.
All in all, Tinted has the right foundations, but could do with fleshing things out further. You get fleeting snap shots into Laura’s life, but it doesn’t always go deep enough under the surface. The performance can come across feeling like a high school drama piece but it’s hard to distinguish if this is more of an issue with the writing or with Eyre’s depiction. Regardless, it’s still an absorbing story. It hits the right balance of being funny and moving. It’s highly refreshing to hear the voice of someone less abled and we need more stories like this in the world of theatre. Scripped Up, absolutely need to keep throwing work out there, kicking up a fuss and demanding those with a disability deserve a place at the (theatre) table.
Reviewed by Phoebe Cole
Photography by Georgia Harris