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VAULT Festival 2019: top shows to see

The theatre festival is returning to the arches under Waterloo

Some of the shows featured in this year's VAULT festival

Waterloo is the place to be at the start of 2019, as the annual VAULT festival kicks off for another year of cutting edge, experimental and innovative theatre over eight weeks. With a raft of shows on offer, it's well worth heading to the VAULT website to find something to whet your appetite. In the meantime, here's a list of 10 shows we're particularly intrigued by.


Counting Sheep

Mark and Marichka Marczyk
© Counting Sheep

Headlining this year's festival is immersive folk opera hit Counting Sheep, which picked up some stellar reviews when it first ran at the Edinburgh Fringe in 2016 and was one of our critics' picks of the year. The show thrusts audiences into the heart of the revolution in Ukraine and the VAULT production has an extra twist – Natalia Kaliada and Nicolai Khalezin of the Belarus Free Theatre will add new English language monologues to the existing piece. Alongside it, Counting Sheep's creators Mark and Marichka Marczyk will also perform Balaklava Blues, a live music set using video footage from the Donbas region of Ukraine. Both shows are running for the whole festival. 23 January to 17 March


New Diorama Takeover

Queens of Sheba is one of the shows featured in the takeover

Here's five shows in one from the New Diorama which is joining forces with VAULT on this new initiative that presents several returning pieces across two weeks. The line-up includes Nouveau Riche's sell-out hit Queens of Sheba, which returns to London after its award-winning run at the Fringe in 2018, Silent Uproar's five-star musical A Super Happy Story (About Feeling Super Sad), the side-splitting Kill The Beast's Director's Cut, Pretend Men's ode to cinema Police Cops and The Faction's classic revival of The Talented Mr Ripley. A veritable treasure trove of great choices. 30 January to 16 March


Tilda Swinton Answers An Ad on Craigslist

Tilda Swinton Answers An Ad on Craigslist

Tom Lenk, ie Buffy The Vampire Slayer and Angel's Andrew Wells, has the task of playing Tilda Swinton in this surreal comedy, which is all about what would happen if the Oscar-winning actress ended up as your unexpected housemate. It's a show that's been running for a few years now (at the Edinburgh Fringe as well as on the other side of the Atlantic in New York, Los Angeles and San Francisco) so the London run is long overdue and should go down a storm. 6 to 17 February


10

10

Lizzie Milton's new play has a score to settle – the near consistent lack of acknowledgement of ten iconic women in history and the contributions they made to humanity. Featuring the likes of Æthelflæd, Mary Seacole, Ada Lovelace, Noor Inayat Khan and Brenda Proctor, the piece brings ten women straight into the present day. It sounds like Top Girls meets Six and we're totally on board for whatever the results are. 13 to 17 March


17.

17.

Gig theatre connoisseur Wildcard Theatre had a Fringe smash hit with LET Award-winning Electrolyte, and now comes to VAULT Festival with brand new piece 17.. Frankie Meredith's two-hander looks at modern teenage world and how the internet can have a seismic impact on people's lives and futures. Considering this is a company going from strength to strength, 17. could be well worth a punt. 23 to 27 January


Lola

Lola
© Papercut Theatre

Nabokov's novel Lolita is over 60 years-old, and, for Hannah Nixon, in dire need of a reimagining. Her new play takes the original story and places it in the present day, as the central character of Lola strikes back against unwanted attention. This looks like it'll be an assured debut from Nixon, produced by Papercut Theatre who delivered a solid hit with Just To Get Married in 2017. 23 to 27 January


Orlando

Orlando

Another play based on a novel is Lucy Roslyn's Orlando. Taking Virginia Woolf's legendary '20s text as its base, which in turn was inspired by the poet and novelist Vita Sackville-West, Roslyn's play jumps between Woolf's time and the present day to question why we are forced to adopt the identities we have. It's directed by JMK Award-winner Josh Roche, who oversaw the 2017 revival of My Name is Rachel Corrie at the Young Vic. 20 to 24 February


3 Billion Seconds

3 Billion Seconds

Maud Dromgoole is going to have a busy March – her play Mary's Babies is going to be staged at Jermyn Street Theatre in March, directed by Tatty Hennessy. Before that, she brings new show 3 Billion Seconds to VAULT, directed by Bethany Pitts (who oversaw the award-winning Fuck You Pay Me in 2017), which is all about overpopulation and the consequences of having children in the modern day. 6 to 10 March


Check-In / Check-Out

Check-In / Check-Out
© Outside Edge Theatre Company

How do you perform a recovery? Christopher Holt and Matt Steinberg, who created last year's award-winning Tumulus at VAULT, return with their new piece devised by a company of professional actors affected by addition. The show places personal histories and confessions on the stage to explore what substance abuse can entail. 6 to 10 March


Katie and Pip

Katie and Pip

They say working with animals is a no-go in theatre, but what if that animal is responsible for saving your life? Based on the relationship between Type 1 Diabetic teenager Katie and her pet border collie Pip, the show has people wearing dog masks, lots of bouncing balls and Pip bounding about on the stage in a discussion about making invisible disabilities visible. 23 to 27 January

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