Tag Archives: Cara Evans

It’s A Motherf**king Pleasure

It’s A Motherf**king Pleasure


VAULT Festival



It’s A Motherf**king Pleasure

“The cast are all entirely charming, pushing the audience to a gentle discomfort whilst keeping the tone silly and fun”


VAULT Festival has an offering of nearly 600 shows across three months. I’m reviewing a fair few, and whilst some were picked because the blurb piqued my interest, 600 shows is a lot to sift through. So I must admit, quite a few were picked because someone recommended them, as is the case with It’s a Motherf***ing Pleasure. But as the cast rather gleefully points out, this is the first performance of the show, so how on earth could the ES or Lyn Gardner know if it were any good, or indeed “important”?

Aarian Mehrabani, one of three cast members claims this is a perfect of example of non-disabled guilt, recommending a completely unknown show likely just because it’s created by FlawBored, a disability-led theatre company. In this instance it’s worked in their favour- the auditorium is packed. But It’s a Mother F***ing Pleasure seeks to work through some of the darker consequences of this impulse, and those who are happy to take advantage of it.

They also readily admit it’s a difficult conversation to navigate, spending the first ten minutes desperately ensuring that the audience’s access requirements are taken care of, and the last ten minutes apologising profusely to everyone they’ve no doubt offended.

And somewhere in the middle they tell a story that, whilst not technically true, has no doubt taken place in some form or other in multiple corporate offices: a PR agency has been accused of being ableist after one of their influencers has said something questionable on their channel. And, of course, rather than think about how this has happened and seek to educate themselves, they decide to monetise this opportunity and hire a brown, gay, blind influencer to become the face of Revision, a series of blind ‘experiences’ to sell to the guilt-ridden seeing public.

The cast are all entirely charming, pushing the audience to a gentle discomfort whilst keeping the tone silly and fun. The idea of ICAD- Integrated Creative Audio Description, which describes, not just what’s happening, but the vibe, is genuinely brilliant and I look forward to other shows employing it in earnest.

The plot itself starts strong, funny and relatable, and necessarily takes a sharp turn off a cliff. But it heroically saves itself with lashings of self-awareness. The reviewers in the audience are warned that should they give any less than four stars, everyone will think they’re a c*nt for criticising a disability-led theatre company. And on the way out, the audience is offered ‘I’m an ally’ badges, and printed suggestions of enthusiastic tweets, to show that they’re not ableist.

I, of course, would never be swayed by such things. Sure, I took a badge to show everyone, as Chloe Palmer tells me, that I’m not ableist anymore, and that I’m better than everyone else. But I would never give a skewed rating no matter how blind the cast is. I just happened to really like it. Funny, chaotic and wincingly relevant.


Reviewed on 21st February 2023

by Miriam Sallon

Vault Festival 2023

More VAULT Festival reviews


Caceroleo | ★★★★ | January 2023
Cybil Service | ★★★★ | January 2023
Butchered | ★★★★ | January 2023
Intruder | ★★★★ | January 2023
Thirsty | ★★★★★ | February 2023
Kings of the Clubs | ★★★ | February 2023
Gay Witch Sex Cult | ★★★★★ | February 2023
Love In | ★★★★ | February 2023
Patient 4620 | ★★★★★ | February 2023

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The Beach House

The Beach House


Park Theatre

THE BEACH HOUSE at the Park Theatre


The Beach House

“It is engaging but teasing. Like an extended trailer. Or rather a pilot for a television drama series”


“I’m not always that easy to love” Kate explains to her girlfriend Liv. She then spends the next ninety minutes proving her point. If it stretches our patience, think what it is like for the three characters in “The Beach House”, whose entangled lives untangle before us over the course of a year or so. A year in which Kate gives birth to their baby daughter (the conception of which remains a mystery) after the couple move into a crumbling cottage by the sea. Kate’s sister, Jenny, comes and goes, upsetting the already precarious balance each time she arrives, and often more so when she leaves.

Many staple themes are touched upon in Jo Harper’s episodic play, that are unveiled in a series of snapshots. Short scenes. Vignettes of a particular moment in time. Like looking through a stranger’s photo album. We see the surface, and then rely on our imaginations to create the back story. Dramatically that is a blessing, but a burden for the performers who have little time to convince us of their complex characterisation. And they don’t always manage this in the time they have. But what they do have, in abundance, is the ability to draw you into the moment and offer more than a hint of what is going on. The cracks appear in the relationships like the leaks that spring in the roof of their rundown home.

Kathryn Bond is the pragmatic, uptight career woman. Bond cleverly plays the bully with a tender lack of self-awareness who can surprisingly elicit sympathy. The issue of post-natal depression is brushed aside and swept under her façade of impatience and overreaction. Apparently Kate has always been the controlling type, according to free spirited, little sister Jenny. Gemma Barnett has many layers through which to make her character’s voice heard but, despite her strong charisma and very watchable presence, the message becomes muffled. Gemma Lawrence’s Liv has the most light and shade. A blocked songwriter, she depends on Kate financially and emotionally. Lawrence convincingly portrays a divided soul. We marvel at her tolerance, and understand and excuse her indiscretions.

There is a lot going on here. All three characters are both culprits and victims. They are grappling with some hefty issues. Coercion, emotional abuse, infidelity, motherhood, sisterhood, abortion, betrayal, desire. It could be a whirlwind, but it is more fragile than that. Delivered gently, the real tensions are like a dark cloud on the horizon, and the performances are treading some way from the precipice.

Set in the round, Bethany Pitts staging is nevertheless starkly honest, reflected in Cara Evans’ sparse setting. The lens focuses on a single trunk centre stage, a Pandora’s Box – on which the lid is never fully lifted. A baby monitor relays some offstage dialogue, but again we expect more of a reveal from this technique. It is engaging but teasing. Like an extended trailer. Or rather a pilot for a television drama series. Now there’s an idea. The performances certainly do leave us wanting to know more. And what happens next. And what happened before. “Always leave them wanting more” they say. A fundamental rule that this company haven’t breached in “The Beach House”.


Reviewed on 20th February 2023

by Jonathan Evans

Photography by David Monteith-Hodge


Previously reviewed at this venue:


Julie Madly Deeply | ★★★★ | December 2021
Another America | ★★★ | April 2022
The End of the Night | ★★ | May 2022
Monster | ★★★★★ | August 2022
A Single Man | ★★★★ | October 2022
Pickle | ★★★ | November 2022
Rumpelstiltskin | ★★★★★ | December 2022
Wickies | ★★★ | December 2022
The Elephant Song | ★★★★ | January 2023
Winner’s Curse | ★★★★★ | February 2023



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