Notch by Danaja Wass, Vaults Festival, London to 23rd February 2020. 3***. Mark Courtice



Written and performed by Danaja Wass                        

Directed by Madelaine Moore 

Produced by TheThelmas                                               

Movement direction by Lucy Bishop                 

With additional filmed material from Eva Kraljević        

Onscreen performer Evelyn Lockleyotch 


VAULT FestivalLeake St, Lambeth, London SE1 7NN 

19 – 23 Feb 8.40pm, Saturday matinee 22 Feb 4.30pm 

£15 – 14 | | 0208 050 9241 

Review Mark Courtice 19th February 2020 

A.A. is living on the streets or in a shelter, battling with the twin challenges of being friendless and homeless. Her story is told in an intense hour of a sequence of poetic segments combined with more conventional story telling often slyly recalling the big names of TV and the net. She is a migrant from an unnamed Slavic country and hers is a story of the struggle for love in a world where nothing is stable and home is a memory of bad things. 

The text is full of vulnerability and pain of a life that has sacrificed certainty to the chance of things getting better. At first it seems that  lovers are easy to find at work and in the pub, but hard to keep. Later, a confused and confusing obsession over a girl who represents a hope of more than just a place to lay her head comes to a horrifying climax. The writing is powerful, openly theatrical, often relying on the undercutting joke when it comes to the disturbing stuff but opening a bleak glimpse into the black hole of obsession and breakdown.  

Wass’s performance is a bit of a struggle. An hour long monologue is hard to sustain, and this is not helped by being topped and tailed by unconvincing physical sectionsHowever her voice is superb, a beguiling mixture of Irish and Slav makes the story both that of stranger and more local; homelessness and paranoia really could happen to any of us, but most especially to the migrant in our midst  

A bare stage with single chair is well lit, but from time to time the little space nearly disappear in waves of  smoke, why do we have to look at her through a fogIn the background a screen plays a mixture of daytime TV and long loving shots of the lovely other woman which come in and out of a blizzard of static. Clarity emerges from the confusion in fits and starts. 

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