(4 / 5)
What is wonderful about the Vault Festival is the eclectic mix of theatre and performance on show.
Last week I faced the refugee crisis and misogyny and this week, a LGBTQ+ story of change and pain.
The Poetry We Make sees the story of a loved up couple, the decline of the relationship and the change when Robin begins to realise that they are the wrong gender. Elliot struggles to face this truth and we see the decline of not only their love but their friendship, along with the questions, curiosity and frustration behind such a huge life change. And then there’s Dolly Parton – you cannot go wrong!
We affiliate so much with the characters’ – the loved up couple, their painful break up and the coping afterwards. We recognise the ladies man best friend, void of feelings for women but a laugh all the same. And Dolly Parton is there, creating comedy and musical interludes.
The performer’s bring such a honest and heartfelt approach to the characters, letting us not only relate but also question ourselves in their situations. The story is tough and it is great to see it brought to the forefront through theatre.
My only issue with this is that it is written from the perspective of Elliot. We see her decline, her pain and frustration at knowing Robin is not the gender they once were and questioning their relationship and love. I see that perhaps this highlights the issues of loved ones and even outsiders when they feel personally victimised, threatened or even frightened by something that is not ‘the norm’ and the general approach LGBTQ+ persons sometimes come accross. But at the same time I would have liked to hear more from Robin and what they were going through and their feelings.
The stage is simple yet effective; easily changed to fit the scene and does not need any huge changes to do so. The acoustics of the tunnel of the Vaults only helps to add to this vibrating feeling of a sensitive, funny and honest piece.
The Poetry We Make is heartfelt, not afraid to tell the truth but also full of comedy. A culturally significant piece of theatre.