Vault review: The War Inside

Camille Dawson’s play was presented at the Vault Festival in their shipping crate venue, Void.

Taking inspiration from Dawson’s experience of struggling with chronic bowel disease, The War Inside is an audio journey around a body in conflict with itself.

Last year, I had my own health scare and eventual diagnosis with IBD, so this show was once I was on the fence about experiencing. Might it be too bleak?

I have been sent an audio file of the show to review, so I put on my eye mask and headphones and settled down to see what sound designer Paul Freeman has created from Dawson’s work.

Listening pod for The War Inside

Running at around half an hour, this show took place in Void within a set which suggested the human body, although audience members were encouraged to wear an eye mask and find a place to settle within this warring cocoon.

The War Inside is the story of Marnie, a teenage girl who finds blood in her poo, and a newly-recruited white blood cell in residence in her body. These two characters form the basis of this sonic play.

Rather than doing her assigned job as a team player, this cell goes rogue as her actions eventually cause Marnie external harm. It is a classic Faustian tale in some ways as a mob are led astray, but with more subtlety.

Promotional photo for The War Inside

Treated with humour and imparting some important information for those with chronic (and invisible) illness, The War Inside benefits from effective voice work and interesting music/sound effects throughout.

It doesn’t treat Marnie as a victim but does recognise her condition and highlights potential areas of embarrassment and adjustment. The major organs of the brain, heart, and liver are also imaginatively portrayed.

The War Inside is a vivid and imaginative show, the first part of a larger immersive project, which will show at the Albany towards the end of 2023.