The VAULT Festival website professes to give a space to the “bravest and best of the next generation of creators” – and last week that bravery was on display in two very different shows.
Performance artist Desiree Burch’s solo monologue Tar Baby – co-written with playwright Dan Kiltrosser – previously ran at the Gilded Balloon at the Edinburgh Fringe. The flyer for the show announces “an interactive carnival of race and capitalism – where no one’s a winner, but everyone’s still playing!” A witty, intelligent and acerbic commentary on modern-day racism, it has great depth and profundity, in no small part due to the brilliance and infectious exuberance of Burch, who captivates the audience from the start.
Like Tar Baby, Das Spiel is a one-person monologue which includes a lot of audience participation, but it takes an altogether different bent. Devised and performed by Vienna illusionist Philipp Oberlohr, Das Spiel is billed as “psychological immersive theatre” and proved very popular at the Festival, with almost every performance sold out during its run. It is not your typical magic act: in addition to being a member of the Austrian Magic Circle, Oberlohr has studied physical theatre, so the performance is very creatively conceived.
Both Tar Baby and Das Spiel have now sadly finished their runs at the Vault Festival, but I urge you to see both if you ever get the chance.