‘Quiz Night at Vaginus Hemmingway’s cabaret rathole’ by Lara Cosmetatos is a personal essay with a creative imagination and talented acting and singing. The solo piece contains multiple realities and endearing characters crafted and delivered with aplomb. Fruit of her labour of the past six years, one can’t help but admire the many diverse stories she weaves, with characters who have some resemblances to those around us but are totally unique and quirky in how they express and exist.
The most enchanting part of the show was Lara’s voice and original songs. She sings like a nightingale, switching tones, delivering with precision and commanding stage presence. The songs also have so much depth, rhyme and poetic imagery, tying significant knots in the plot.
The show is about a sweet boy with no friends getting bullied by his alter-ego. The world the story is set in is on the brink of the Apocalypse. There is a sharp socio-political commentary on our imagined lives if the NHS is privatized. This sad boy is trying hard to collaborate with his mean alter-ego to figure out how best to deal with the fact that it’s all over. The play scrutinizes the structure of various social assumptions and, with an interactive quiz, has the audience participate, voicing not popular opinions but striving to make an inclusive environment for differing points of view.
The challenge is, however, that each of these brilliant ideas could be a show of their own. The play goes beyond the contracted time and would benefit from letting go of some of the fascinating subplots. It was heartbreaking to witness the artist mention that they need money as they are hungry and would appreciate donations. Quiz Night @at Vaginus Hemmingway’s cabaret rathole navigates through grief, connection, void, short term discomforts to long term gains and delivers on the thought-provoking theatrical experience Lara worked towards.
Reviewer: Anisha Pucadyil
Reviewed: 11th October 2023
North West End UK Rating: