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BWW Review: THE GRIM, VAULT Festival

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BWW Review: THE GRIM, VAULT FestivalBWW Review: THE GRIM, VAULT Festival

VAULT Festival is notorious for its offerings of promenade and immersive shows. Every year companies gather to take audiences on the most disparate journeys all around the Waterloo area.

Quietly Fighting Theatre's contribution is a a sinister and instinctive adventure through morality and death. The Grim Reaper is ready to propose a deal: all they need is a name to put in their book and the recently deceased will get more time in the grey space between life and what comes after it.

Liam Fleming directs (and co-writes with James Farrimond) a thrilling show whose only shortcoming is that it ends too quickly. The company is committed and unflappable as they give information and subtly question their patrons' moral codes. While on the surface The Grim is a fun trot around The Vaults, its deeper and more chilling essence emerges discretely until the small groups are forced to make a choice.

The mix of agency and control is clever, leaving the participants figure their tricks out by themselves but also gauging when an intervention is necessary. Although it deals with all kinds of dark matter, the piece isn't without humour. Emily Howarth and Megan Pemberton kick it off with spunky banter as The Concierge who welcomes the departed and the first incarnation of The Grim.

Each a peculiar manifestation of Death's helpers Alice Corrigan, Amelia Parillon, Alice Merivale, and Molly Beth Morossa craft fascinatingly precise Horsemen (a mention of honour goes to Merivale, who is absolutely delightful in her uneasiness as the Black Horse). They lead the way to Alex Gilbert, who brings the story to its jarring conclusion with businesslike delivery.

Fleming's depiction of brisk and methodical death-related procedures is original and amusing, while the issue that's ultimately addressed opens a window into a harsh and topical reality. The Grim proves how opportunity can influence morals while right and wrong seep into each other with disconcerting effects.

The Grim runs at VAULT Theatre until 16 February.

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From This Author Cindy Marcolina