Review: Cybil Service by Sal Mohammed at Vault Festival ★★★★★
An authentic quest for survival; Sal Mohammed’s ‘Cybil Service’ shows us an artist’s search for stability in a world where Fatima’s next job really is in cyber and she’s not sure how she feels about it.
Sal Mohammed’s performance displays a lived experience that is both unique to them in its wonderful intersectionality. The show is an arresting depiction of the current employment situation for artists in a post-pandemic world.
Sal’s presence on stage is at once comforting (they start the show politely asking for our attention, full of the kind of charm that doesn’t intimidate; it has a kindness to it), radical (gender fluidity has its potency even at the VAULT festival) and vulnerable (there is room for sadness and exhaustion as well as query joy in this life story).
This show shines in its personal narrative: while moments of news-presenter remind us of political context, these quickly fade against the rich confessional monologues, moments of physicality and entertaining re-enactments of life working from home when previous employment feels worlds apart.