Vault review: In PurSUEt

Not as conedic as I expected, In PurSUEt is more a tragic tale of an alcoholic obsessed, unhealthily, with Sue Perkins (author, presenter, and wit).

Bush Productions has brought its queer stalking sensation to Vault Festival following a successful run at last year’s Edinburgh Fringe. Will it be a SUE-in?

In the hands of writer-performer Ekeanor Higgins, the tale of ‘Woman’ who finds herself in a therapist’s office is black and bleak, but rather uneven.

Promotional shot for In PurSUEt

Director Tom Knight makes the most of the Network Theatre stage, which stands for Woman’s lonely apartment, therapy room, and various places she sneaks into to both ‘her Sue’.

This is a cautionary tale of both mental illness and the pursuit of fame – Woman may start out nice and, on the face of it, harmless, but she has a nasty undercoat which comes out after a few glasses of red.

I enjoyed some moments here, especially around the chats on celebrity and the sly digs at Sandi Toksvig’s height. There are small and perfectly formed scenes, carefully crafted and developed.

Promotional shot for In PurSUEt

And there is no denying Higgins is a daring performer drawing on the rock-bottom nature of addiction. It is a no-holds barred depiction of snot, sick, and sobs, but sometimes sits awkwardly with the comedy.

Where In PurSUEt didn’t quite work for me was in the lack of preamble. Why is this woman obsessed with Sue Perkins? She talks about things in her career going back years: what sparked off the interest?

As a queer piece looking at addictions of all types, In PurSUEt is well worth watching and has a certain amount of originality. I just wanted a bit more within the plot and characterisation to nudge it up just a little.

In PurSUEt has now finished at Vault Festival, but has some tour dates remaining. Follow Eleanor on Twitter to find out more.


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