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BWW Review: VELVET, VAULT Festival


BWW Review: VELVET, VAULT Festival BWW Review: VELVET, VAULT Festival

Tom dreams of being a famous actor. But it's hard to break into the industry and a day-job waiting tables takes its toll. Then, while cast in a fringe play he's suddenly met with a huge opportunity that borders the inappropriate. The next step is up to him.

Written and performed by Tom Ratcliffe, Velvet is an exploration of drive, passion, and what it takes to cross the line in the light of the #MeToo movement. Honest and painfully real in its portrayal of a flawed and unjust field, the hour-long monologue comes alive with the actor's impressive body language, tackling narcissism and the trappings of wanting an acting career.

Directed by Andrew Twyman, he delivers entire conversations switching among several characters with ease, painstaking specificity, and attention to detail. He's subtle in his analysis of the entertainment business, showing how easy it is for tables to turn in this flimsy environment.

He's unafraid of painting a picture of the predatory circumstances where sex is exchanged in an attempt to reach fame. Promises are broken as he metaphorically takes his seat on the casting couch trying to rationalise what's happening and evaluate his priorities.

Ratcliffe's writing is smooth and unequivocal. He opens up about what's considered a grey area in the public opinion and questions the practices, providing a well-rounded and brutal reflection on the harmfulness of turning a blind eye.

Following the series of major scandals in Hollywood, Velvet is an eye-opening play that discloses how the smaller Weinstein's and Spacey's work in an industry that forgives too easily.

Velvet runs at VAULT Festival until 3 February.

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