A Shiny Life For Me!

a personal review blog by Bianca

Patient 4620

Patient 4620
11 February 2023
Vault Festival
5.0 out of 5.0 stars

Another busy day at the Vault Festival started out with a one-person-entry show that mixes auditory storytelling, art exhibition, and immersive theatre.

Patient 4620 takes place in the Void, a shipping container on the top end of Lower Marsh. My last visit to this location was a bit crammed, with 20 people squished into the small space, so having the whole thing to myself and the one performer was a very different experience.

For this show, one patron at a time is asked to take a seat in a wheelchair, and then taken around in the completely darkened container by a wordless entertainer. This serves quite well to create an unsettling and disorientating atmosphere, though this is somewhat hampered by the container not being sound-proofed, so street noise carries very well into the small space.

After a little roll up and down the container, I was placed in front of the first painting, accompanied by an audio guide narrated by a friend of the artist. The detailed painting is discussed, and I learn about artist Gretel Sauerbrot and her brother Hansel, who fled Germany after WWI and tried to create a life first in France, later in England. Through a series of sketches and paintings, the life’s story of this mysterious artist is revealed in small increments, painting a picture of a life tortured by past experiences and family issues, leading all the way to Gretel being institutionalised later in life.

The story is spun incredibly well, slowly delving deeper into a dark life haunted by the past. The show finishes with an immersive element that I don’t want to give too much away from. Knitted right into the story and a very dark reveal, it was a little unclear how much interaction was expected for this part, but I personally very much enjoyed it.

If you enjoy dark and spooky storytelling, this one’s definitely for you! If you can get a ticket, as it’s a one-on-one show, those are quite scarce at this point. It was absolutely one of my favourite shows of the day!

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