CACEROLEO at the VAULT Festival
“Hastings’ performance is complicated and heart-rending”
As the audience files in, we’re initially greeted with a collage of screens playing wholesome random snippets- a merry-go-round, a dance troupe, pastries rising in the oven, a man juggling for the entertainment of a fluffy rodent- while ‘The Moon Belongs to Everyone’ plays on repeat. As soon as the lights dim, however, the screens switch to a news report about a bomb used in Vietnam. This is pretty much the order for the evening, splicing seemingly innocuous memories and feelings with deeply disturbing information. In a nutshell, “While I was at senior prom, I didn’t know my mom was being strangled.”
It’s hard to pin down a single narrative or message. Everything seems to be linked for writer and performer Rhys Hastings, but it’s impossible to unpick, or even understand everything being thrown at us. Hastings appears to be both trying to work through his trauma, as well as being completely immobilised by it; by telling his story he hopes that it heals something, but equally in remembering it all, he’s only reliving it.
According to the programme notes, this is supposed to be an exploration of ‘safe spaces’, but really it seems to be saying there’s no such thing, particularly in the world of creativity.
Hastings’ performance is complicated and heart-rending. It’s hard to know quite how autobiographical this story is, but either way, his character presents as confused and confusing: trying to be a good person, failing a lot, trying to work out what that even means.
Directed by Nastazja Domaradzka, Caceroleo is daring and brilliantly aggressive in its execution, placing the audience in the centre of a tornado with little to no explanation. It’s both hard to watch and hard to look away, and I leave the venue feeling confused myself, and not a little fragile.
Reviewed on 26th January 2023
by Miriam Sallon
Other shows reviewed by Miriam:
The Tempest | ★★★★ | Shakespeare’s Globe | July 2022
Brawn | ★★ | King’s Head Theatre | August 2022
The Man Who Wouldn’t Be Murdered | ★★★ | Lion and Unicorn Theatre | August 2022
The Apology | ★★★★ | Arcola Theatre | September 2022
The Drought | ★★★ | King’s Head Theatre | September 2022
Fame Whore | ★★★ | King’s Head Theatre | October 2022
The Milk Train Doesn’t Stop Here Anymore | ★★★ | Charing Cross Theatre | October 2022
The Poltergeist | ★★½ | Arcola Theatre | October 2022
The Solid Life Of Sugar Water | ★★★★★ | Orange Tree Theatre | October 2022
Blackout Songs | ★★★★ | Hampstead Theatre | November 2022
We Were Promised Honey! | ★★★★ | Soho Theatre | November 2022
Zombiegate | ★★★ | Theatre503 | November 2022
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