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What to see at Vault Festival 2018

We round-up our top picks from this year's festival, which kicks off this month

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The cast of Neverland
© S R Taylor

1. Neverland

24 January until 18 March

The Guild of Mischief had a runaway hit with their immersive reimagining of The Great Gatsby at last year's Vault Festival, and this time they're back with a full length musical (and equally immersive) production of J M Barrie's Peter Pan. Trading the second star to the right for a subterranean cavern, the show will be stuffed with pirates, mermaids and Lost Boys all running amok.


2. Lolo Brow

3 February to 17 March

Neo Burlesque seems to be all the rage these days, revitalised by the likes of La Clique or La Soirée, which continues its run in the West End. Lolo Brow, who won Performer of the Year at the Burlesque Awards in 2016 and is listed on the Burlesque Top 50, looks set to demonstrate why the art form is making such a comeback with her show Attention Seeker.


Monster
© Worklight Theatre

3. Monster

24 January to 28 January

Worklight Theatre are taking two shows to The Vaults, the well-received Labels (which won a Fringe First award in 2015) and their newer show, Monster, written and performed by the company's co-artistic director Joe Sellman Leava. Tackling male attitudes towards women and how society celebrates male role models (certainly a pertinent topic), the show will then embark on a UK tour.


4. Police Cops: In Space

24 January to 4 February

Comedic theatre company The Pretend Men have been building up a sizeable following of late, with sell-out runs at the Edinburgh Fringe and the Soho Theatre. The company bring their Police Cops: In Space to the Vaults for a two week run at the end of January, in a low-fi, sci-fi blockbuster bonanza of hilarity. We can't wait to see it.


Becoming Shades
© Vault Festival

5. Becoming Shades

24 January to 18 March

Classics meets aerial acrobatics meets live music meets circus in this cacophonous new show from returning troupe Chivaree. Based on the Greek legend of Persephone, this underworld experience continues the company's collaboration with the festival, after the show ran for a more limited time last year. If you want even more circus (and who doesn't!) the troupe will be performing Labyrinth, a two-night immersive circus party on 2 and 3 March.


6. Caravan Theatre

15 February to 10 March

The Vault Festival is all about the unexpected and new, and that's exactly what Caravan Theatre is to a t. Newly written 20 minute short plays are presented to an intimate audience within – you've guessed it – a caravan. While the caravan's lineup is to be announced, expect the weird and wonderful within an unorthodox performance space.


7. A Hundred Words for Snow

7 to 11 March

Tatty Hennessey's monologue A Hundred Words for Snow was one of the winners of Heretic Voices' inaugural monologue competition, and will be performed at the Arcola this week touting Lauren Samuels. After that it will also come to the Vaults for a week-long run, directed by Lucy Jane Atkinson, with Gemma Barnett delivering the show. The piece follows a young girl, embarking on a chilly quest to the North Pole with her father's ashes, in what is set to be a heart-wrenching hour.


8. The Year of the Rooster Monk

7 to 11 March

Vault Festival Origins Award-winning company Les Foules team up with performer Giselle LeBleu to present this quirky, surreal and charged piece of work. Combining extrasensory perception, millennial anxieties and black feminist movements, the show follows Giselle, a lonely 30 year-old, who ends up conversing with her clairvoyant VCR set. Certainly top marks for originality.


Ian Hallard and Tom Rhys Harries
© Dan Wooller for WhatsOnStage

9. Tumulus

24 to 28 January

Ian Hallard was the toast of the West End when he led the cast of the transfer of The Boys in the Band last year, but here he trades his '60s barbs for modern day innovation – playing 40 characters alongside Tom Rhys Harries (Hotel, National Theatre) and Ciarán Owens (Candide, RSC). The production, a murder mystery about the dangers of chemsex in the present day, will also be technologically ambitious – using digitally generated voices and live foley sound effects.


10. The Lifeboat

24 January to 18 March

One exciting innovation at this year's Vault Festival is the introduction of Unit 9, a pop up venue dedicated to escape room and immersive experiences. Alongside theatre-turned-strategy experience Revolution (think The Drowned Man meets Risk) comes The Lifeboat, a surreal dystopian escape inspired by the sci-fi films of the '70s and '80s. Plus it runs for the full length of the festival, so you have eight weeks to catch it.


11. Silk Road

24 to 28 January

Bitcoin has been in the news a lot recently, so what a timely moment to announce a production funded entirely by the digital currency? An anonymous donor contributed two Bitcoin to this show's original crowdfunding campaign and since then the value of one Bitcoin has bounced around hugely. At the moment, two Bitcoin are worth about £21,405 which means Oates is quids in and this play gets a further life. The piece itself is about Bruce, a nineteen year-old Geordie tech head who gets pulled further and further into the murky, criminal world of the dark web.

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