Lali at Vault Festival

Review: Lali at Vault Festival by OPIA Collective ★★★½

Jet-black wit and pin-sharp writing combine in Lali, a twist in the tale riot. Delve into one woman’s leap into momentary madness, locking herself in a rich family’s Wendy house and discovering the family’s secrets.

Lali | Vault Festival | 21-26 February | From £13

This one-person show is deliciously dark and channels Moira Buffini at her best with surreal asides and deadpan writing prowess. The story centres around Lali a tutor who arrives as the Bamford’s mansion to tutor their child but ends up locking herself in the family’s playhouse in the garden. Days ensue and the family’s veneer unravels.

Shadi Hamta’s performance is electric and skilfully juggles various characters, movement and humour. The pace seemed a little relentless and the script could have brought in more moments of quiet and time for Hamta to breathe. Ultimately the writing is fresh, bold and feels like it would be very at home at the Royal Court Theatre but needs a little editing.

There is an intriguing story within a story of Lali’s life in Iran, her father and why she is there but this felt like a different show. Perhaps this could have been more embedded to the central narrative keeping the time and place to one timeline.

The set is stunning and slick with Islamic art fitting inside the Wendy house frame with light up branches and oil slick flooring. The sound design was a little too abstract to tie into the story and move along the action.

Overall, Lali is a brave and bold new work, which was a little baggy but ultimately is a killer concept that deserves a future life.