Tag Archives: Vault festival

A Haunting – 4*

A Haunting

Vault Festival

Press Night – 16 February 2017


“Original, chilling and hugely entertaining”

The shows we’ve seen at this year’s Vault festival have fallen neatly into two categories – those ‘needing a lot of work’, and those that are pretty pleasing already. Nathan Lucky Wood’s A Haunting falls directly into the upper ends of the latter – not altogether surprising as it had run previously to mainly positive reviews at the King’s Head Theatre.

For this transfer, A Haunting is staged in one the Vault’s most atmospheric locations, The Pit, which perfectly evokes the chilling content of the play. If you’ve never visited the Vault Theatre, it is a hidden marvel with a labyrinth like array of performance spaces belied by its slightly insalubrious looking location.

The plot of  A Haunting explores the world of teenager Mark (Roly Botha), who like so many of his generation, whiles away the hours in an online gaming world. It’s in this world he encounters ‘Ghost’ (Jake Curran – the only cast member reprising his role from the King’s Head original),  at first just a faceless game-mate on Counterstrike but soon someone we start to question the motives of, which appear to be becoming more and more sinister…

When Ghost finally succeeds in cajoling Mark into meeting, there’s a certain assumption that you know what’s going to happen next. But A Haunting throws you a curve ball, this is not a straightforward tale of a confused teenager being groomed.

With errant parents, a father barely mentioned and a mother (Izabella Urbanowicz) blinkered to what’s happening to her son, Mark’s life appears to be in danger. Lured into the woods late at night, this is edge of your seat tension at its finest.

Teasingly the show leaves some questions unanswered and its ending open to interpretation by the audience.

Jake Curran plays the creepily unstable Ghost character so convincingly at times its frightening, whilst Izabella Urbanowicz as Mark’s mother Anna comes into her own when she finally realises the mortal danger her son may be in. Stand out performance though goes to Roly Botha, one of the brightest young acting talents around at the moment; you can genuinely feel for and believe in his character.

A Haunting has an all too short run – ending Sunday 19th February. But this is one of those shows, you just know will make a return. And return it must. Original, chilling and hugely entertaining.




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The South Afreakins – 4*

The South Afreakins

VAULT Festival

Press Night – 15 February 2017


“A short show that packs so much in. Unique”

The show starts with two voices heard off stage, a couple, a South African couple, engaged in the type of semi-banal conversation any long wed pair might have. Once the action moves on stage though, we see there is only one performer. The South Afreakins is a sharp one woman show featuring two main characters.

Robyn Paterson (actress and writer of the show) converses with herself as retirees Helene and George. She portrays both characters effortlessly in a unique style. You do start to think after a few minutes though how this can work throughout a show that’s over an hour long but do not fret; this show works, and has some surprises along the way to keep you watching. Apart from the vocal differences, Paterson also reveals the different personalities through her adept use of mannerisms and body language.

Helene is determined to leave everything behind and start again in the sheep filled hills of New Zealand. Gordon’s dream is to stay right where he is. When they finally immigrate to New Zealand, the result is heart-breaking and hilarious as they discover it’s hard work to find “home.”

The show will have you smiling gently with its warm and cosy humour  – the duck in the chimney and Helene’s bizarre excitement at getting her senior citizen’s free bus pass are among the scenes that will keep you chuckling. But the show has a deeper more melancholic side to it; it’s about real life so expect touching issues relating to getting old, spending a lifetime together and realising how fleeting time together can be.

It’s a brilliantly observed work, capturing the characters’ idiosyncratic moments perfectly. For a short show it packs so much in as well – South African culture, immigration, sadness, hope, joy and happiness all feature.

The show is truly unique, a wistful tale of life and spirit, enacted in a most original way. Definitely one to see.


The South Afreakins runs until 19th February