Review: Thomas at Vault Festival, 26/01/19

As with almost everything coming out of Vault Festival these days, Robbie Curran’s heartfelt play ‘Thomas’ has a pivotal message to share.

And, like almost everything coming out of Vault Festival these days, it shares that message in poignant yet understated fashion.

Centred on Thomas, a young man with Aspergers syndrome played by Curran, and his cousin David, the play fluently navigates the pitfalls of adolescence as we watch the pair grow and devleop through the unique challenges the condition brings.

Curran strikes up easy chemistry with Ben Lydon in the role of David, while Amanda Shodeko performs admirably in filling in all the additional roles required of the play.

For Curran’s debut this is an accomplished work that transcends mere storytelling by weaving in the true-to-life experiences and emotions of those with Aspergers, creating a play that is both embellished with marvellous, minute detail but also compact and clean.

Much of the credit for this goes to the team behind the scenes, with Esteniah Williams’ versatile set ensuring smooth transitions throughout and ensuring focus remains on the characters.

Between them, director Lucy Foster, lighting designer Holly Ellis and sound designer Annie May Fletcher help truly bring to life and illsutrate the struggles that Thomas faces throughout his young life, from subtle light changes to the restrained musical scores.

Affirming rather than confrontational in dealing with the sensitive subject matter, this yet another huge vindication for the work of both Snapper Theatre and Vault Festival in giving intelligent, industrious art the space to breathe.

Thomas is playing at The Vaults until 27 January as part of the VAULT Festival. For more information and tickets, visit the VAULT Festival website.

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