In this semi-autobiographical one woman show, we meet Kelly. She is autistic and led to believe by her doctor, that she’ll be born, grow up and die in the small town of Sutward. She finds escape in the world of video gaming, where she’s mastered ‘Speed Running’. This is the art of manipulating glitches in video games in order to gain competitive advantage. The play takes place in the days leading up to and during a video gaming competition which is held in Sutward this year.
For Kelly, gaming is much more than just something to do to pass the time. We see that she teaches other kids how to play and there’s a whole community of people (online and offline) who have found solace in this activity. The piece does a great job of introducing the audience to the intricacies of gaming in a way which respects it rather than trivialising it. A nice touch is the addition of live captions on a TV complete with animated avatars of each of the characters that we hear about, to propel the audience further into the world of gaming.
Playwright and performer, Krystina Nellis, has an incredibly dry sense of humour and is comfortable in making jokes about herself and the other characters in the show. In a short space of time, the piece explores a variety of themes such coping with illness, dealing with negative societal attitudes towards disability and also touches on love. It holds together well overall as there’s a salient narrative which places the likeable Kelly at its centre.
It’s shows such as Glitch which remind me why I’m a fan of the Vaults Festival. The Vaults gives a platform to weird and wonderful personal stories such as Glitch which I may not have otherwise learnt about. Yes it’s not the most polished production, but it has a lot of warmth, heart and humour which made it a pleasant watch.
Glitch is running at the Vault Festival until 15 March 2020 at the time of writing.