Friday, 13 March 2020

REVIEW: Bin Juice at The Vaults


‘Bin Juice’ directed by Anastasia Bruce-Jones is playing in The Cavern at The Vaults until the 15th March. If you’ve never been to The Vaults, as a venue it’s known for being damp, hot and dark... a very fitting setting for this play that shies away from none of these things. 

A fast paced glimpse in to a surreal world of waste disposal to the extreme is navigated by three actresses: Adeline Waby, Madison Clare and Helena Antoniou, playing ‘bin ladies’. We meet them interviewing Belinda, (Antoniou), to become their apprentice and by the end we learn the true meaning to the cost of waste disposal. 

It’s a fairly standard start to the play, watching it you feel as if the actress’s are pushing both vocally and rhythmically- but it being the first night in a new space as the run settles in this will probably subside. That being said the back and forth between Antoniou and Waby, (as Francine), is berating throughout and doesn’t feel reactive or that they are listening to each other. Throughout the piece the pair are fairly unadventurous with their choices almost bulldozing through any attempt of comic pause or dramatic tension, and it’s hard to get on board with their characters as they just seem a bit too young to be playing them. The light relief in this, and throughout the whole piece, is the wonderfully measured and detailed performance both physically as well as emotionally of Madison Clare as the slightly dim but endearing Marla. The jewel of the show is a back and forth driven by Clare about faces on food packaging- a wonderfully witty and nuanced delivery. The only time we ever hit any empathy for a character is nudged at during a speech about Marla’s fear of flies and finding her mother dead, but there just doesn’t seem enough air given to it, maybe a choice deliberately made but doesn’t pay off. 

Throughout the piece is peppered with excellent writing by Cat Kolubayev, however this being its second outing after starting it’s life at The Flux theatres EMERGE night, you would expect a more focused narrative which at times sits in comical tangents that aren’t actually that funny and loose the audience. The play also ends very suddenly, I won’t give any spoilers away but it’s at a moment were you want to see how the characters are going to ‘clean up the mess’ and how they are going to relate to one another, but is cut short. 

Having mentioned the setting as being strangely app for this piece it’s a shame it’s not used more, watching the show as an audience you wonder if the space could have been used more creatively to emphasise the rank ‘underworld’ nature of its plot. It seems like a missed opportunity to play- maybe taken from a place of security in familiarity. 

Overall it’s a strong and unique play that just wants a bit more time to figure out what it needs to be. A stand out performance from Madison Clare drives the piece in a beautifully understated way. Bin Juice is an all female cast and creative (woohoo!) and is a refreshing piece of theatre to watch- it just needs to give itself permission to play!

Review by Phoebe Hyder 

Rating: ★★★
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