Vanity

On the first night I tried to go to Vanity the tiny room was completely full: I couldn’t even see past people hanging around at the door. On the second night I was one of five. This is a very unusual and potentially alienating piece of drama, despite its simple design. A girl and a man are on stage, the man holding a gun to her head. She confesses a series of crimes that become more and more far-fetched. After twenty minutes the ironies behind this act begin to become clear and interesting; during the remaining ten there is a sense that the point has been made. Whether this is its final transformation into a legitimate example of Artaudian Theatre of Cruelty depends upon how much you’ve had to drink and what your motivation is for seeing a show so late in the evening. For me, it just about crossed the line into a successful piece of performance. But it’s close.

There are big problems: lines were forgotten very frequently; although this show is on very late it’s short; and when attention is drawn to the piece’s artifice its intellectual underpinnings are undermined. Hopefully this has been sorted, because there is some intelligent thinking behind this show. The way it plays with duration and repetition helps to evince the discomfort of admitting culpability, although for many it will simply help them eye the door. Asking what it means to be culpable and to admit culpability at all is the directive of this show, and it’s a very stimulating platform from which ideas may emerge. How far does admitting something atone for the action? What does it mean to say the phrase ‘I did this?’ Whilst these questions are never uttered, the text is designed so that they can be extrapolated without any biased input. There is mental work to be done to gain something from Vanity, that’s for sure.

Whilst this show will seem like a waste of time to many, there is something behind its bold theory and experimentation. This is an interesting late-night, unusual piece - but don’t go if you’re not prepared to think.

Reviews by James Macnamara

Zoo

Government Inspector

★★★★
Stand in the Square

Is Your Marmite Watching You?

★★
The Jazz Bar

Jazz Rite of Spring

★★★★
Underbelly, Bristo Square

Rachel Stubbings: Doing It for Himself

★★★
C venues - C nova

Cabaret Nova

★★★★
The Edinburgh Academy

West Side Story

★★★★★

Since you’re here…

… we have a small favour to ask. We don't want your money to support a hack's bar bill at Abattoir, but if you have a pound or two spare, we really encourage you to support a good cause. If this review has either helped you discover a gem or avoid a turkey, consider doing some good that will really make a difference.

You can donate to the charity of your choice, but if you're looking for inspiration, there are three charities we really like.

Mama Biashara
Kate Copstick’s charity, Mama Biashara, works with the poorest and most marginalised people in Kenya. They give grants to set up small, sustainable businesses that bring financial independence and security. That five quid you spend on a large glass of House White? They can save someone’s life with that. And the money for a pair of Air Jordans? Will take four women and their fifteen children away from a man who is raping them and into a new life with a moneymaking business for Mum and happiness for the kids.
Donate to Mama Biashara now

Theatre MAD
The Make A Difference Trust fights HIV & AIDS one stage at a time. Their UK and International grant-making strategy is based on five criteria that raise awareness, educate, and provide care and support for the most vulnerable in society. A host of fundraising events, including Bucket Collections, Late Night Cabarets, West End Eurovision, West End Bares and A West End Christmas continue to raise funds for projects both in the UK and Sub-Saharan Africa.
Donate to Theatre MAD now

Acting For Others
Acting for Others provides financial and emotional support to all theatre workers in times of need through the 14 member charities. During the COVID-19 crisis Acting for Others have raised over £600,000 to support theatre workers affected by the pandemic.
Donate to Acting For Others now

Performances

The Blurb

Making a mockery of the desire to find somebody else to blame for everything, a young woman with a gun to her head confesses to just about every crime ever committed, and is publicly executed.

Most Popular See More

SIX

From £29.00

More Info

Find Tickets

Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat

From £13.00

More Info

Find Tickets

Come From Away

From £25.00

More Info

Find Tickets

Everybody's Talking About Jamie

From £24.00

More Info

Find Tickets

Hairspray

From £21.00

More Info

Find Tickets

Pretty Woman: The Musical

From £18.00

More Info

Find Tickets