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TELL TALES – The Vaults, London.

tell talesThe latest production from Jackdaw theatre company; Tell Tales, provides a casual and welcoming environment for artists from all disciplines to work collaboratively in order to generate raw and experimental stories to try out in front of an unsuspecting audience.

On entering the (almost empty) space, we are subjected to immediate chaos with the obligatory task of building the set with crates, cardboard and newspapers. Along with scrambling to find a comfy looking box to sit on, we become oblivious to who is part of the performance and who is a mere minion simply observing. This, as well as being a clever device, has a warm, rough and ready feel – keeping to the general ambiance of the performance itself. Unfortunately as soon as we are settled and the tales begin, there is a distraction from the loud music seeping through from another room, however this does not deter the performer’s engagement and they commendably remain focussed throughout.

The evening feels slightly mismatched, with a combination of promising propositions and bizarre interludes of unconvincing choreography. The ten-page script discussing the deeper issues behind the comedy series Girls and confessing the difficulty with acting when you take no enjoyment from stories is captivating and looks set to become an intriguing piece of work if/when developed. Another aspect which works well within the frame of the piece, are the sarcastic and deliberately random transitions. The comedic routines are effortlessly funny, slick and provide clear closure between each new act. However, baring in mind that this event is an experimental evening assuringly showcasing innovative performance; there is a strong feeling of disappointment within some of the other more clichéd and overused techniques – particularly whilst conveying some of the feminist attitudes and ideologies.

Nevertheless, the finale – a musician recounting a tale as a Shakespearean character – is a wonderfully executed and humorous snippet of raw talent, closing the performance on a high note. In general, many themes and topics within Tell Tales are extremely significant and relevant to the world as we know it now, however ambiguous dance routines and borderline desperate attempts to be original leave us feeling slightly unsatisfied. Don’t let this put you off attending one of these events though, as the predominant consensus is to push the performers; encouraging boldness and to make mistakes within a supportive atmosphere of creative people; which this platform as part of the Vault Festival succeeds tremendously.

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Reviewed 12/02/14

By Natalie Green

11th – 15th Feb 2014
The Vaults, London, SE1.

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