Freedom Hi – VAULT Festival London

Reviewer: Mike Wells

Creator: Papergang Theatre

Director: Kim Pearce

The VAULT Festival is a fantastic platform for those whose voices are rarely heard. In this regard, Freedom Hi is a perfect example. A compilation of new writing and performance art by UK based Hong Kong and British East Asian artists, it questions our notion of freedom, and offers an insight into a world as dark as it is colourful.

This is without a doubt one of the most digitally experimental fringe shows you’re likely to see. In addition to traditional mediums, they used multiple projectors, telegram groups, artificial voices, live streamed video, and many more. The potential for something to go wrong is immense (particularly while sat several feet underground and relying on a Wi-Fi connection, which is patchy at best) and yet they tackled it head on and it worked.

The use of technology was impressive, but it was backed up in droves by some talented performers who told us stories of injustice and freedom that were stirring. At times it was sad and emotional and at others it was funny and graceful, but always it was engaging and energetic.

The performance is a combination of elements including some monologues, duologues, dance and more, and all of it was excellent. The moments of movement were particularly good. There was also some audience interaction, which, without exception, went well, and never felt forced. Everything about the show felt genuine.

There’s a lot about this show that has a ‘work in progress’ feel to it, but that doesn’t mean to say it’s not enough as it is. Sure, there are moments that could be made a little slicker, but there’s an undeniably attractive energy , which pulls the audience in from the moment they step foot inside and doesn’t let up until the very end.

Some of the show makes for uncomfortable listening, and at times some of the dialogue comes close to the mark, but it’s navigated in a fairly measured way that always comes across as sincere.

Runs until 15 March 2020

The Reviews Hub Score

Brilliantly bold

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The Reviews Hub - London

The Reviews Hub London is under the acting editorship of Richard Maguire. The Reviews Hub was set up in 2007. Our mission is to provide the most in-depth, nationwide arts coverage online.

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