FRUITS at the VAULT Festival
“Whatever the idea was in its fruition, it’s been lost in the execution”
I am not averse to a little chaos. And I’m often happy to see the conventional, linear form flipped on its head for the sake of communicating a particularly tricky message to the audience. But in the instance of Fruits, Or the Decline of a Distant Memory, I’m not at all sure what the message was supposed to be.
Themes of love, sex and identity run hazily through a series of non sequitur vignettes, surreal and nonsensical: two little girls play various games until one of them is seemingly lost forever in hide-and-seek; someone stands and lists all the possible genders, sexualities, and sexual preferences to the point of absurdity; a woman dressed as Eve, leaves covering her crotch and nipples with a snake wrapped round her neck, proceeds to devour an apple, spit it out, and beat the snake to death. Throughout, fruit is eaten, spat out, and violently smashed to the ground, after which a glittering fruit fly comes to enjoy the spoils whilst telling us about his first sexual encounter.
There’s definitely a lot of humour, which is a relief because something like this could easily take itself far too seriously: a cleaner, whilst ‘cleaning’ the audience, appears to find a baggy of unidentified white powder on a fellow reviewer, and greedily snorts it all up; a boy lays solemnly crying in a woman’s lap, and she peers at the audience, shrugging, “well, fuck this shit.” It’s irreverent and self-aware, but in the context of the rest of the script, it all just seems meaningless.
The design, too, is bizarre: Playing to the length of the long, skinny room, with benches on either side, the audience’s attention is drawn from one end to the other. The lighting is sophisticated, following certain performers with multiple spotlights, or shedding pink and yellow washes across the whole. One scene has a woman desperately chasing an ever-moving spotlight, which is actually very funny. But sometimes a monologue is carried out in darkness, whilst the audience remains well-lit, or a spotlight appears halfway through a scene. It feels both purposeful and poorly chosen. If you’re going to require the audience to seek out the next voice on such a long stage, you have to show them where to look. On top of that, in an attempt to create a dream-like atmosphere, there’s so much reverb on the mics that quite a lot of the script is lost to the already cavernous room.
Whatever the idea was in its fruition, it’s been lost in the execution. TAKDAJA prove themselves to be very capable, diverse performers, but the script needs a lot more guidance.
Reviewed on 1st March 2023
by Miriam Sallon
Photography by Lidia Crisafulli
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
666 Hell Lane | ★★★ | February 2023
Police Cops: Badass Be Thy Name | ★★★★ | February 2023
Patient 4620 | ★★★ | February 2023
It’s A Motherf**king Pleasure | ★★★★ | February 2023
Naked Chats | ★★★★ | February 2023
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