Tag Archives: Stephanie Martin

Thirsty

Thirsty

★★★★★

VAULT Festival

THIRSTY at the VAULT Festival

★★★★★

Thirsty

“There is joy and hilarity in the horrors of the heteronormativity it explores”

 

Stephanie Martin’s play, ‘Thirsty’ is a heart-breaking and manic deep dive into the truth of going through a breakup in your late twenties as a queer woman.

We meet Sara, fresh out of a relationship, looking for a way to cope with the pain of being dumped by the woman she loves. She turns to the people around her for support, including her Bridget Jones-esque friendship group full of larger-than-life characters, who, despite having good intentions, don’t completely understand the intricacies of queer relationships or their fallout.

Louise Beresford as Sara immediately breaks the fourth wall and forms allyship with the audience, creating a Fleabag-style breakaway narrative that gives audiences an insight into the truth of Sara’s thoughts throughout the whole play. This, and other choices of form and dialogue, contribute to the beautiful and subtle nod to neurodivergence in the character, and create a sense of intimacy and trust between the players and the audience.

We meet a large array of side characters, multi-rolled by a talented cast made up of women and non-binary actors. A particular mention to Anna Spearpoint, who presents a showcase of comedic characters, one of which is the best friend of Sara. Her earnest and hilarious choices make for a memorable performance, and bring diversity through her accent and acting style. She is definitely one to watch.

This is a show made by queer people, for queer people. It also offers an indifferent truth to the reality of heartbreak which anyone can relate to, and displays how these experiences can be altered massively by the people around you. There is joy and hilarity in the horrors of the heteronormativity it explores, and it offers an insight into the queer world; its kinks, its language, and the marginalisation still present within it.

“Are you going to go back to dating men? Do I have to?”

It engages in a lively pace to keep the audiences invested and by the end, slightly exhausted by the moments and memories we explore – again, a realistic insight into the mind of the character taking us through the story. Scott Le Crass’ impeccable direction utilises tools such as flashback, dance and play with the space to create a contemporary and exciting performative world.

Stephanie Martin’s ability to create honest yet hilarious conversations drives this piece, and an audience finds itself settled into the tone of the piece within minutes. This is a show that knows exactly what it is. Jokes, puns, and punchlines are sprinkled throughout the entire script, catching an audience by surprise. Within a minute the show takes you from laughter to wiping a tear. It is a piece that is so real, those who can identify with it might find it slightly painful.

The joy that has come from Scott Le Crass’ play with the space, beams through the actors. It is one of the best intimate scenes I’ve seen played out on stage, and the actors didn’t even touch.

Thirsty is a queer heartbreak story, that teaches us about the lives of the characters we meet, and if you lean into it, will teach you something about yourself. It is also a reminder that even if something looks perfect from the outside, the reality can be far from it.

A perfect show for VAULT Festival, with a guaranteed life after this run.

 

Reviewed on 2nd February 2023

by Estelle Homerstone

Photography by Flavia Fraser-Cannon

 

Vault Festival 2023

 

More VAULT Festival reviews:

 

Caceroleo | ★★★★ | January 2023
Cybil Service | ★★★★ | January 2023
Butchered | ★★★★ | January 2023
Intruder | ★★★★ | January 2023

 

Click here to read all our latest reviews

 

Juniper and Jules

Juniper and Jules
★★★★

VAULT Festival

Juniper and Jules

Juniper and Jules

The Vaults

Reviewed – 23rd January 2019

★★★★

 

“Taylor and Schmidt have great chemistry. Both wholly own their roles, playing two very different women”

 

Juniper (Stella Taylor) has never been attracted to men. Jules (Gabriella Schmidt) had no idea she could be attracted to women. That changed when she met Juniper. This one-hour play follows the progression of Juniper and Jules, from early infatuation into the rougher waters of a long-term relationship. It explores the question of whether it’s possible to be committed without being exclusive, and asks how much one should be willing to sacrifice for a partner (if anything).

Juniper & Jules is a series of snapshots of a modern lesbian couple: their dating, their sex, their arguments. Writer Stephanie Martin has created two compelling characters whom she guides with impressive authenticity. There’s a genuineness to their frustrations and their vulnerability that resonates. Martin orchestrates the flow and ebb of their closeness and distance with real skill, shaping a narrative that’s unflinching and bold, but also light and touching. Humour is a thread woven throughout. The jokes are clever and consistently land well.

Taylor and Schmidt have great chemistry. Both wholly own their roles, playing two very different women. There is accomplished subtlety in Taylor’s facial expressions. Schmidt bounces between hot and cold with ease. They command the intimate room, giving the audience no opportunity to let their attention drift.

Juniper and Jules’ attempt to navigate the pitfalls of a non-exclusive relationship is engrossing. However, an ending that is meant to be revelatory feels circular instead. With a bit too much sermonising, the characters rehash the same ideas, and make the same decisions they made before, simply hoping this time will be different. It’s somewhat anticlimactic, as it seems a lot of the problems of the story have been left unaddressed. But overall it’s an honest, engaging, and insightful portrayal of a young couple trying to make their own rules rather than submitting to prescribed standards.

The Pit room at The Vaults is a tight space. Benches for the audience take up most of the area, leaving just an impossibly small, narrow strip of floor within which the entire performance is contained. It’s remarkable how well director Bethany Pitts has made use of almost nothing. Despite the nearly complete lack of set, we are easily immersed in the characters’ world. Also noteworthy is the approach to Juniper and Jules’ texting – a common obstacle in modern plays. Taylor and Schmidt speak the texts, including punctuation, at a distance from each other. It’s effective and keeps the characters engaged (rather staring at phones while we see messages displayed on a screen).

There’s an exciting twenty-five percent of work from LGBTQ+ artists at VAULT Festival this year. If you’re interested in authentic queer narratives told truthfully, with frankness and humour, then Juniper & Jules should be on your list.

 

Reviewed by Addison Waite

Photography courtesy Clamour Theatre

 

Vault Festival 2019

Juniper and Jules

Part of VAULT Festival 2019

 

 

 

Click here to see more of our latest reviews on thespyinthestalls.com