The 6 week long Vault Festival is one of London’s most exciting events. With a variety of theatre, comedy, club nights, workshops and live music to choose from, everyone would be spoilt for choice. As many of my regular blog followers might know, I’ve always held an affinity for stories of a science-fiction persuasion. So one cold Thursday night I moseyed down to the Waterloo Vaults in order to experience a new show: Space Play.
We open on chaos. Panic in the air as klaxons sound. The spacecraft known as Galaxy One has been hit by debris, killing most of its crew.
But there’s one survivor.
Michael (Mark Knightley) is trapped alone on a craft tumbling through space at 7kms per second. With the entire ship falling apart, and the only connection being a lone female at Mission Control (Harriet Madeley), it seems Michael is doomed. But can they work together and help him get back home?
Opening up with the dulcet tones of Aerosmith’s I Don’t Wanna Miss a Thing, Space Play wears its influences on its sleeve by invoking (both visually and verbally) a variety of Hollywood sci-fi. Ranging from the silent thoughtfulness of Kubrick’s Space Odyssey, to the more bombastic carnage of Armageddon, each reference is a credit to the scene it is deployed to support.
But this Hollywood sheen doesn’t exist merely as decoration. Once ripped away, we see it reveals a play with a fascinating and engaging exploration of the value of human life in our profit hungry society.
With only one actor for most of the play, Knightey holds the bulk of our attention. But he does so with aplomb and brings a special brand of comedy to the blackness of the situation.
But of course, Space Play is not a one-person show. Harriet Madeley has the enviable task of unleashing a trio of characters upon the audience. With no costume changes, it is left entirely to her posture and voice to bring life to these distinct personalities. Moving swiftly between girlfriend, stranger and boss, to say she triumphs would be an understatement.
That’s not to say the play was perfect as there were small issues with sound overpowering the dialogue at certain moments, but nothing that was drastically detrimental to the experience.
I could honestly see this, with a little additional writing, becoming a full length play, worthy of the West End Stage.
Space Play has three more performances at the Waterloo Vaults: Saturday 28th Jan – 4:15pm and 6:00pm, Sunday 29th Jan – 6:00pm
Tickets can be booked here
Produced by Brave Badger Theatre.
Written and performed by Mark Knightley and Harriet Madeley.
Set design by Lauren Pratt
Projections by Martin Dewar
Costume by Jazmin Dervishali