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5-star This Must Be The Place at The Vaults – Review

Poleroid Theatre's This Must Be The Place, VAULT Festival - courtesy of Mathew Foster
Poleroid Theatre’s This Must Be The Place, VAULT Festival – courtesy of Mathew Foster

Listed as one of the top ten plays to see at The Vaults, This Must be the Place is a hot ticket during the festival and it’s easy to see why. This is a very modern tale of very modern detachment, written with humour and vigour by Brad Birch and Kenneth Emson, and directed with a bouncing youthfulness by Justin Audibert and Josh Roche.

The cast are full of energy and at first, the play feels more like a live gig, in a good way. This is no slow burn, you’re invited into the story right from the off.

Adam (James Cooney) is having a moment on Hungerford Bridge, and in that moment he drops his iPhone into the Thames. The start of a series of events that will lead him out of London and towards his conclusion.

Tate (Feliks Mathur) and Matty (Hamish Rush) are leaving home in the hope of something better, but they, like Adam, are conflicted, anxious and uncertain.

This, the cast insist, ‘is not a London story’, but it is, to some extent. It’s also a story of friendship, alienation, love, commitment, parenting and choice. There’s a claustrophobic feel to the venue that adds perfectly to the depiction of the men in this play who are all reaching for an escape of sorts. Only Lily (Molly Roberts) seems to be wanting to grow roots. Men feeling trapped isn’t new territory, but Birch and Emson bring a modern spin to the themes, and the play never drags, doesn’t preach and leaves room for interpretation. The stories may link or may not, I guess that’s for the audience to decide.

This Must Be The Place is observant, angry, compelling and the cast are brilliant. Oh, and it’s funny too. Very funny.

5 Star Rating

Review by Roz Wyllie

This is not a London story.
No timely tale of protests on the street. Nor night bus puke recollections.
No rising rents and financial complaints. No.
None of that here.

In an exhilarating first time collaboration between Pinter Commission Winning Brad Birch (Royal Court, RSC, Soho Theatre) and BAFTA nominated Kenneth Emson (BBC, Royal Court, Bush), This Must Be The Place makes its London premiere at Vault following an acclaimed debut performance at Latitude Festival 2016, directed by Justin Audibert (RSC, National Theatre, Young Vic), presented by Poleroid Theatre – the company behind the triple Off West End Award nominated production of Free Fall by Vinay Patel and the acclaimed nation wide new writing platform Write It: Mic It.

Two friends, fugitives from their problems, try and start again in the big smoke but find themselves waiting on the margins still.

A man in the midst of crisis tries for a clean break from technology, connectivity and the pressures of city life.
Two short ballads about being alive and not… About migration, missed connections, and life on the edge of respectability. Frantic and funny, quiet and thoughtful. Sometimes bleak, but never without a sense of hope, and certainly sweary enough for a child to be lead away by their parents. About where we are now, and whether we are really living. About getting away from it all.


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