I bet you’ve walked past a drinks vending machine many times in your life and never given a second thought to the lives of those who reside within. Those cartons, cans and bottles all illuminated and waiting to be picked have lives too – or so that’s what Quench made me realise.
Set in a vending machine in a leisure centre facing closure we follow the tragi-comedy lives of Appletania, Sparkling, Fizzy Orange and Electrolyte. If it sounds absurd – it is, but the minimal yet effective costumes and behavioural tics make this an incredibly believable set – and idea.
Despite sounding like an insane idea for a play, this works really well to tell the story of the hopes, dreams and fears of life. On the surface this may be a funny comedy, but there’s a depth to the writing that leaves the audience realising there’s more to the message than just another drinks choice. Sparkling’s waited 694 grabs to be chosen. It’s an idea that will likely evoke early memories of waiting to be chosen for school sports, or later as an adult and the dream job/partner/home we all long for.
My main criticism would be the voiceover is a bit muffled which is a shame as it sets the opening scene and at some points it’s unclear what is being said. However, in the incredibly competitive scene of the Vaults, Quench does well to have stand out appeal and delivers well on a thirst-quenching piece of creative theatre.
Quench runs until 9th February – https://vaultfestival.com/events/quench/
Reviewer: Samantha Collett
Reviewed: 7th February 2023
North West End UK Rating: ★★★★