Ringmaster, Vault Festival

Ringmaster is a devised production from Network Theatre Company based on La Ronde.

A controversial play with provocative sexual themes written by Arthur Schnitzler in 1897 it seems to have resonated with millennials with The Bunker’s Wheel of Chance  production in 2017.

Ringmaster is less traditional, it moves away from the character’s occupations . As a 21st century play it looks as all aspects of sexuality (though some may argue it focuses on the binary rather than the pan) and the emotions and technology that come with it.

The Ringmaster is our narrator (Emily Bates), a nice device that works well to introduce the characters and set the scene and breaks the fourth wall, as she alludes to her own heartbreak as is puppet master as relationships evolve and dissolve in front out our eyes.

Despite being a play about sex as the Ringmaster says “Everything is about sex, except sex. Sex is about power” and the simple choreography suggests eroticism, sub/dom relationships and the complexities of sex and love. All the cast gave strong performances as these lost souls, it was nice to see international members of the cast, (Eimear Lacey as Rosie and Guillaume Lannes as Merlin) show a true representation of London and their scenes about bisexuality were thoughtful.

The production had a lot of warmth and humour, not afraid to be sexy but also not afraid to show how awkward sex can be. Dom Thomson as Charlie, the Labour MP looking for a man on Grindr describing his idea of “fun” as playing badminton to the baffled but sympathetic Jamie (Matt Patridge) was hilarious.

I look forward to seeing what this company has to offer and I hope they continue to put a modern spin on the classics.


Emily Bates Cast
Shamini Bundell Cast
Kim Gabriel Cast
Eimear Lacey Cast
Guillaume Lannes Cast
Matthew Partridge Cast
Dom Thomson Cast
Sarah Wenban Cast


Alex Farrell Assistant Director
Agnes Rivet Assistant Director
Louie Renna Stage Manager
Susan Potts Dramaturg
Mike Wyer Sound Design
Paul Evans Lighting Design
Susan Small Production Assistant

Ringmaster was on until 26 January  https://vaultfestival.com/whats-on/ringmaster/ 



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