Vault review: How We Begin

Another triumph comes to the Vault Festival in the very week we have heard this is the last time we will enjoy and appreciate new writing and emerging talent in this underground network of unique performance spaces.

Written by Elisabeth Lewrenz and directed by Elizabeth Benbow, How We Begin is a deeply moving and carefully crafted exploration of the friendship of Diana (Emma Lucia) and Helen (Talia Pick).

Both bisexual, these women meet as students, but their close affinity evolves into an intimate relationship, with all its twists and turns, joys and disappointments.

Promotonal inage for How We Begin

With the audience watching from benches on either side, the Pit is configured, so most of the action happens around an old rug rather than on the static stage.

Although this is a very emotive two-hander, we are included by moments that break the fourth wall and invite us in. Both performers display a persuasive chemistry that makes their situation raw and real.

How We Begin has nothing flashy – the only props are a pile of cushions – what matters is the thoughtful script, enhanced by Han Sayle’s lighting, which washes the exposed brick walls with pinks and purples.

Production image for How We Begin

Moments to make you smile abound: the peril of ‘straight girl nails’; a surprising family reaction to coming out; an elusive bra. There are text messages as well as close meetings, sexy times, and gossipy nights out.

It’s easily one of the best shows this fringe has to offer, and if we lose this showcase for the weird, wild, or simply wonderful, it will be a tragedy not just for the capital (where are more than 500 shows in a month supposed to come together in such a show of support and creativity?), but for all of theatre.

How We Begin closes tomorrow, 19 Feb. Ticket link –


Image credit: Ross Kernahan