After Carnival of Crows, I popped into Vault Festival again to see Hermetic Arts’ April, a one-woman show of a ‘Positive Thinking guru for the YouTube generation’.
These are the words (or letters) that welcome us into Hermetic Arts’ most recent production April, a joyous smorgasbord of pseudo-scientific satire.
Enter April, our host/guide/guru/friend/lover for this evening; a sinister ‘Siri gone YouTuber’ promising we can all live a life of perpetual positivity.
She’s here to teach us how to manifest our destiny (“Our Manifestiny”), all the while brandishing the mantra “Attitude is more important than fact”.
Where’ve we heard that one before?
And just to make sure you get the connection, April dons a red “Make April Great Again” baseball cap, just in case you didn’t get it first time round.
Perfectly performed, and written, by Carrie Marx, April is a breath of fresh air in the world of one-woman shows.
A character who does it all in ways we’ve never seen it done before.
Also involved is Chris Lincé, who’s brilliant direction and video design makes April’s mumbo-jumbo worrying believable and always, always funny.
April draws on the life lessons of ‘Chaos Magic’, repeatedly referencing the worldly wisdom of great chaos magician, Noel Edmonds and his assistant, Mr Blobby.
She even gets the audience on stage to tell a glass of water they love it, thus deeming the glass truly ‘half full’.
Scary? Also, yes.
Marx’s eyes are dead throughout, barely letting out the slightest hint of emotion, so juxtaposed with a frozen smile and the oh-so-happy American twang, April’s seriously sinister.
You spend the entire play laughing but waiting for something to go wrong.
Because you know it will.
And when it does, it’s something so unexpected and so tragic (which I shan’t delve into too deeply for fear of spoilers) that, as much as April petrifies you, you pity her as well.
Verdict: April’s a brilliant combination of so many genres and ideas that surprise, entertain and terrify all in one fell swoop.
Vault Festival is clearly the place to be for some horrific (in all the right ways) horror theatre.
By Sam Essame
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