REVIEW – SCRATCHES – VAULT FESTIVAL

TW: This show is about self-harm and mental health, this review therefore also touches upon these topics.

There’s a huge burst of energy on the stage as Scratches begins, starting off as a one-woman performance, Aoife Kennan takes us on a journey, based on her personal experiences of self-harm.

The subject matter of this show is clearly serious, and must be handled with caution, evidently Kennan knows that, choosing never to explicitly say what her character, Girl does or how, as to not waver into the territory of promotion. Citing the Werther Effect as the reason for censoring some key details out of stories. Instead, wonderfully creating awareness and educating those that may not understand this topic.

Presented in stand-up style at first, then progressing into short snappy life events which are re-enacted. Scratches could have easily been wholly a one woman show, and it would have been great. But the addition of Best Friend (Zak Ghazi-Torbati) is a welcome tonic to the serious subject matter. Ensuring that the show feels light and humorous at the correct moments.

What results is a riotously funny hour, with some raw, tender moments incorporated. Everything about this show feels authentic, from their friendship to the emotions that Kennan portrays. She really does wear her heart on her sleeve and talks very candidly about her struggles with sadness.

There are some moments of comedic genius, Ghazi-Torbati proves an excellent comedian with impeccable timing and delivery. The songs ‘Citalopram’ and ‘Don’t Sleep With Your Ex’ are fun and relatable. The duo give faultless performances – Ghazi-Torbati becomes somewhat of a theatrical chameleon taking on multiple roles throughout the show, and Kennan takes the audience through a rollercoaster of emotions.

From seeking help from family members and the GP, to trying to be there for your partner when you’re struggling yourself, Scratches is relatable. Parts may be difficult to watch, but there are contrasting aspects which are joyful and hysterical. It’s no mean feat to take such a topic and create something as solid, funny, unique, and thought provoking as this. A show that really stays with you, and I genuinely do not have a single criticism. This is a work of pure genius, and it makes for essential viewing. However, as I’ve said, this is a triggering topic for many – so check in with yourself before as to if you’re able to handle the subject matter (it’s absolutely fine if you can’t). There is a plethora of resources to help anyone struggling, I’ll link their website at the bottom.

Hysterically funny, raw, and brutally honest – Scratches is sensational.

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Plain Heroines link is here, which includes a document filled with self help advice and content warnings.

SAVE THE VAULT FESTIVAL

VAULT Festival has been left without a venue for 2024’s festival and beyond
• VAULT Festival have launched a #SaveVAULT campaign
• The campaign aims are to raise £150,000 by 19th March to support the festival’s survival AND to secure a new home for the festival to continue.
• You can help by donating, helping access funding networks, and helping then find a venue.
• You are officially implored to make the most of 2023’s Festival while it lasts!

{🎟 AD – PR invite – Tickets were gifted in exchange for an honest review}

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