Greyscale at the Vault Festival: Review by Stephen Vowles

The Vault Festival – currently in full swing in Waterloo – often throws up intriguing surprises and none more so than Leila Sykes and Stella Taylor’s Greyscale. Directed by Roann McCloskey with a very firm sense of purpose of achieving a moment of disturbance for the audience but at the same time creating a desire and fascination for the subject matter.

The audience are met outside on the street and introduced to the play by the host, on this occasion Becky Bassett, and told that we are going to be watching a date unfold in this case between two men, Tom Campion as James and Declan Perring as Louis, who have met on a dating app. Suddenly you realise that the actors are in the audience. They tell their background stories and then we are led around into a corner and are invited to peek at the two through slots in a large wooden box. To become voyeurs, spies if you like; if you are uncomfortable you can leave.

Also during the thirty minute rather intense performance we are asked to close our eyes and react to a series of questions about the way the two men behaved. This is a very powerful study about emotional need, sexual manipulation and what makes a human heart tick. Thoroughly enthralling with a slight sense of the naughty about it that made it even more fabulous to be part of. Greyscale also features two girls and a man and a woman covering all aspects of our human intimate encounters. 


Greyscale runs to Sunday 17 March at the Vault Festival, Leake Street, Lambeth London SE1 7AD. Tickets from

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