Review: Tinted, VAULT Festival

The Me Too Movement and #Metoo are as synonymous with this past decade as the terms Climate Emergency, March for Our Lives and Brexit. Initially used by activist Tarana Burke to give a sense of magnitude to the problem of sexual assault and harassment of women in the workplace, it began to spread virally after the widespread sexual abuse allegations against Harvey Weinstein. However, sexual harassment is more than just a Hollywood problem.

With Tinted, brand-new company Scripped Up, which champions D/deaf, disabled and neurodivergent writers, brings a different response to the Me Too Movement

Laura is cool, funny and sexy. She’s a self-described geek, loves My Little Pony, Polly Pocket and dancing. She is also blind.

In Tinted we follow Laura from young girl to young woman as she takes her first steps into independence and romance, discovering that when it comes to the topic of consent, there is no Access Guide to Sex.   

Tinted is an individual in and of itself, working with voice overs, closed captions, light and sound to make the performance as relaxed and accessible as possible. At the start of the play, a voice over, performed by Charlotte Eyres who plays Laura, gives us an introduction to the play, letting us know what she is wearing and what is happening when a certain sound or music is playing.

Eyres is an intuitive performer, bringing her energy to every corner of the stage (she is also a very good dancer, even though she tries to convince us otherwise). Her switches from young girl to teenager and on to a woman in her mid-twenties are clear, without breaking up the play. We experience how her character’s confidence grows and falls again as we bounce between versions of Laura at different ages.

Amy Bethan Evans’ script doesn’t just look at consent in terms of sexual assault, but also at how consent and disability interact throughout a disabled person’s life. Whether it’s Laura wishing her mother would ask before wiping food off her face or grabbing her hand to cross the road, Bethan Evans highlights the importance of teaching consent and the lack of care when it comes to sex education for people with a disability.

Director Elske Waite shows a high level of control over the play’s various timelines, pushing the emotional strength of the play at just the right moments. A chair is the sum total of set and props and it is used cleverly, being turned into a steering wheel or a bookshelf when needed. Tinted investigates a side of the #MeToo movement which is often forgotten about. Consent isn’t simply about sex; it’s about having control over your own body. I hope this play opens a door for everyone who sees it, showing them that, beyond the glitz and glamour of Hollywood, there is still a long way to go before the achievements of #MeToo can be applied universally.

Tinted is playing the VAULT Festival until 16 February. For more information and tickets, visit the VAULT Festival website.