Gush – VAULT Festival, London

Reviewer: Andrew Houghton

Writer: Abby Vicky-Russell

Director: Will Armstrong

As a recent finalist of the 2022 Tony Craze award for young writers, and following a sell-out debut at Camden People’s Theatre last year, Gush is quickly garnering the clout and word-of-mouth momentum which often precedes a hit. Written and performed by Abby Vicky-Russell, the quirky character comedy is barely pausing for breath, hot off another successful outing at Soho Theatre last week and now continuing to thrive at VAULT Festival.

The piece thinly veils itself as a feminist piece of theatre exploring how pomegranates relate to vulvas but, following some light preamble, a plumber, called in short-notice, changes the trajectory of the night. Neil is visiting from Sheffield, enjoying a nice trip to London with his wife when he is called in to fix a leak at the VAULT Studio. Luckily, he never goes anywhere without his trusty toolbox and utility belt, and he quickly gets to work as the audience watch on with anticipation.

Gush may not serve the aesthetic beauty of a contemporary dance piece, but Vicky-Russell’s campy performance is every bit as impressively disciplined. Her outstanding physical and vocal performance is a work of art, with comedy beats timed to perfection. Despite being presented in heightened drag-king-esque fashion, Neil is such an intricate and complete characterisation that he feels utterly genuine and undoubtedly has a real-world counterpart.

Prospective viewers may correctly assume that there is more to this production than an impeccable plumber impersonation, however you must see it yourself to understand why Vicky-Russell’s piece is worthy of an instant standing ovation.

Gush proves to be an ingenious and fresh way of approaching a vital discussion and it would be a crime for the production not to continue in the future. The world is not always kind to fringe theatre, however, so you would be smart to catch this unmissable production sooner rather than later.

Runs until 12 March 2023

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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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