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'Vessel' review or 'Does it sound different in here?'

Vessel, Sue MacLaine
Battersea Arts Centre, 9th November 2018
Written for The Guardian 



Four peaceful-looking women sit on chairs in a cramped stage space. Grainy light seeps through three small windows. An orange screen above the women is filled with a stream of projected words, which the women recite. The phrasing is fractured, overlapping and untethered. Glimmers of meaning occasionally wriggle free, but meaning isn’t really the point. Vessel is a chance for the audience to step away from reality and get lost, perhaps escape, together. This is Sue MacLaine’s follow-up piece to Can I Start Again Please, which explored the limits of language, particularly when talking about abuse. Vessel focuses on the power that language exerts, and the choices we might make to undermine that power. It’s based on the medieval practice of anchoritism, in which women chose to live locked away in religious seclusion. Vessel shuts us away in a similar sort of space; the result is a show that feels more like…

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