'The Furies' review or 'You, your sex is on fire!'

'The Furies', Kindle Theatre
Vault Festival, Thursday 9th February 2011

The Furies. They're pretty mad. L to R: Emily Ayres, Olivia Winteringham and Samantha Fox

The Vault Festival is playing in a newly discovered area of The Old Vic Tunnels, which is even further below ground - and far bigger - than the space previously carved out under Waterloo Station. When I first heard about this festival, I imagined it would feature a slew of large scale, immersive productions. However, this vast new space has actually been sectioned off to create a number of relatively small venues. This means the shows, many of which are inter-disciplinary or promenade productions, have little room in which to strut their stuff. This presents a tough challenge to the participating companies - most of which are trying to create sensually overwhelming shows - and demands a director, and company, with a keen eye for a detail and a brilliant, instinctive sense of space.
Not all the companies in The Vault Festival have risen to the challenge and some of the shows feel like large scale productions, squeezed into small spaces. But Kindle Theatre have taken over their modest, shadowy cave of a venue and made it breathe fire. Their heavy metal infused reworking of Clytemnestra's story, 'The Furies', is jagged, raw and exhilaratingly energised - a thrilling joy ride through a lacerating and deeply involving tragedy.
Kindle's show fits so naturally into its surroundings, that it might've been born beneath Waterloo Station. The heavy metal band is all but hidden in the shadows and the lighting, and action, revolves around the three female performers, The Furies themselves. Wherever the Furies stride and sing, the atmospheric - often green tinted - lighting, follows. Sometimes the space is closed down and at other times, as The Furies scream lyrics in our ears and thrust breasts in our faces, the venue feels muted but expansive. This is a production in consummate control of its environment - brave enough to leave certain spaces redundant, in order to allow tiny areas, and moments, to shine.
One such moment is when one of the Furies (Samantha Fox) invokes Clytemnetra's sorrow, with the song 'My Love is Lost Forever'. She sits alone on a softly lit stage and all the hard energy of the previous songs ('I am so furious, I am so FURIOUS!') is forgotten. The tune is simple and sad. The singing is pure and beautiful. As Fox sings, condensation escapes from her mouth and it's as if all the pain is seeping out of her. When she stops singing - and the silence and loneliness risks enveloping her once again - the clutter of a train can be heard rattling overhead. The sound interference in The Old Vic Tunnels is often criticised but here it only thickens the moment, subtly suggesting the idea of a world rumbling overhead, that not even the Furies can control.


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