I Will Still Be Whole (When You Rip Me In Half) – Pit, The Vaults (London) – Review by Eamon Somers
Run Finished – 27th & 28th Feb 2019
I Will Still Be Whole (When You Rip Me In Half) By Ava Wong Davies
Besides being a festival of performance and comedy, The Vaults is an immersive set of venues located under Waterloo train station. A tunnel of graffiti leading to a subterranean post-apocalyptic dark misty world providing a theatrical experience independently of the professional performers.
The Pit was laid out with seating on four sides, so the actors were always speaking with their backs to part of the audience. And because they were not wearing mikes, sometimes vital parts of the dialogue were missed. At one point a comic moment got a huge laugh from the half of the audience facing the actors. The moment was comic for the wrong reasons for those of us behind. The rumble of trains and fan noises did not help this intensely dense piece, which this reviewer would need to see at least twice in order to fully appreciate it, perhaps sitting in different seats for each show.
The monologues describe the mother leaving her newborn baby girl with her father, an incident in which the grown-up daughter is debating whether or not to go home with the woman who has made a pass at her, and the meeting up of the mother and daughter (by arrangement) when the monologues perhaps become a dialogue.
Although a bit too abstract for this reviewer’s taste, the language, the words, the descriptions, and the almost comings together of the two women, were mesmerising to watch and listen to. The story was almost unimportant.
At the end of I Will Still Be Whole (When You Rip Me In Half) the predominantly young audience burst into noisy applause and whooping appreciation. I asked two strangers if they had enjoyed the play, they both had. And I asked them what they thought it was about. One said it was about the importance of family, and the other said it was about the repercussions of past mistakes.
Part of the Vault Festival (400+ shows in 13 venues in Waterloo Station – 2000 artists – ending 17th March)
Cast: Joy: Kailing Fu, EJ: Rosa Escoda