out of 5 stars (4 / 5)

2019 has begun – and so have this year’s Vault Festival.

Recommended by a associate in the Welsh art scene, Scratchworks Theatre hail from my good ol’ (once) locale town of Exeter. How small the theatre world is!

Womans (like Romans but with a ‘W’) takes our original and taught understanding of Roman history, and brings us the extraordinary tale of the women behind this.

A story we’ve always been presented to from the powerful male perspective, as we become more intrigued and more inclusive, we keep finding these women who have been hidden for centuries.

Scratchworks bring us a very basic yet very effective performance. There’s not fancy trickery or sculpted props, but old fashioned devised theatre with every day items.

Roman soldiers are identified by red brushes held to their heads, mattress covers are used for not only clothing for character differentiating but carriages, backdrops, staircases and architecture.

The performers themselves are quick to improv over minor hiccups, never losing focus or the essence of their character; and for a small cast of 3, they cover a enormous host of characters, all with their own quirks and mannerisms.

And their physicality is one to be admired – they may not be leaping like a contemporary dancer or performing interpretive dance but their physical comedy and interaction is on point and side splitting.

Scratchworks are a wonderful company, with the right intention and have narrowed their key skills down to a key. Womans… was not only a joy to watch but makes you eager to be apart of.

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