Review: Tarot, VAULT Festival

The cold and dark vaults are set on fire by this show. It is a warm, magical and sometimes breath-taking experience. 

The audience sit in a semi-circle to watch and sense the most famous figures of tarot cards come to life. And they are so alive in the movement of the performers, in the music by the amazing band Yoshi and in the burlesque hosting by Ruby Wednesday. 

The performers have amazing skills; the circus numbers that they are able to present in such a small space are unbelievably stunning. There’s an excellent diversity of resources and a beautiful sense of coordination and trust among the group. The numbers are risky and impressive – just as you wish circus to be. 

Both the costume and the set design are really well put together and serve the environment of TAROT in a lovely way. 

The band are a huge element of the show, contributing to the coherence of the narrative. The musicians have a rich paraphernalia of sounds, whic are created both digitally and through physical musical instruments. They constantly engage with the performers and improvise depending on what the cards reveal. 

Ruby Wednesday has a mystic presence. Their hosting is funny and flawless and the audience create an instant empathy with this figure who has endless talents and keeps surprising until the very end.

The most awaited moment of the evening is the tarot readings. Ruby invites two audience members to have readings. The tension builds at this moment, as the band keeps playing and the performers keep on improvising about what the cards are revealing. 

As much as I think this is a brilliant idea and possibly the magic ingredient that makes this show so unique, I also believe that this moment becomes a bit boring to the other audience members who are just watching a stranger’s life being exposed. It obviously depends on the day and on how chosen audience member’s cards are being read decides to be, but I had a sense that most of the audience members disengaged after the initial excitement that this scene creates. 

Although the aesthetics and concept, however are beautiful and clever overall, the performances does become repetitive towards the end. The same numbers are repeated with different materials, or with only small twists. It feels like all the “tricks” are revealed within the first 45 minutes.

Tarot is playing at The Vaults Festival until the 1 February. For more information and tickets, see the VAULT Festival website.