Vault Festival: V+15

Where

Cavern at The Vaults, Leake Street Tunnels, Waterloo.

When

26 Feb-1 Mar. Running time 55 minutes.

Who

Written by Jo Sutherland, directed by Sara Reiners, V+15 is the inaugural production by Nevertheless Theatre Company. Performed by Sarita Plowman and Gianbruno Spena.

What

“When personal beliefs have political consequences, fighting the good fight is not as straightforward as it seems … [this] tense political thriller asks what we believe in and what we’d risk to stand up for those beliefs.”

Inside the Cavern. Courtesy Nevertheless Theatre social media.
Inside the Cavern. Courtesy Nevertheless Theatre social media.

How

Jo Sutherland’s V+15 is a political thriller in an unnamed country where fundamental Christians take the Bible literally and force a puritanical, tyrannical existence on people which includes burning books and censoring news broadcasts.

Alins, a nurse who works in her spare time to overthrow the ruling party and collate evidence on their atrocities towards women, has tracked down Vincent, a star journalist who has been off-grid for two years.

The play benefits from a number of twists and turns, posing ethical questions about right and wrong, trust, and whether anything is truly black and white. Is “an eye for an eye” ever justified, and does anyone in a position of power mean what they say?

Meeting in a grimy, barely-furnished flat (the one personal touch is a porcelain duck which is either an ashtray or a storage place) Alina and Vincent drink wine from mugs and plan the seeds of a revolution.

Publicity image for V+15

There are many questions, though, which could be explored further as the play evolves. What is “the brotherhood”? Both characters show fear at some times, bravado at others: whose side is the “right” one?

If we are in a futuristic setting, why are printed books a target when words can be consumed at the touch of a button? And why are women and children so expendable?

This play is directed with conviction and flair by Sara Reimers, moving the tension up a notch where required. Sarita Plowman is very good at bringing out all the facets of Alina, and Gianbruno Spena is an effective bundle of resolute nerves.

Sutherland’s play may shy away from an explanation of what this oppressive regime does to its women, but perhaps it is simply a matter of ‘less is more’, inviting the audience to fill in the gaps.

Judgement: Wow, Meow, or Furred Brow?

I really enjoyed V+15 which displays some clever touches, committed performances and crackling dialogue, so it’s a Wow for this show.

LouReviews received a complimentary ticket to see V+15.

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