Melonade by G&T Theatre performed at the VAULT Festival is a game show familiar but one you have never seen before. Are you going to a theatre or a game show? Are you the audience or the contestants? After seeing the show, my answer to all those questions is just ‘yes’.
The artist Becks Turner becomes the show presenter Becks Turner to introduce you to the game show, Melonade. This ‘juicy’ game show puts the neurotypical brains and the UK education system to test.
We are handed laminated papers and markers, and throughout the show, the audience is asked to participate, and some of us are randomly chosen to become the contestants. Since it is an interactive show, lots of improvisation goes into the show. The lines between scripted and improvised speech were blurred and all of it was very natural. What better way to get people to think about the hardships neurodivergent, specifically dyslexic, people go through a unilateral education system that sets certain groups of students to ‘failure’ from the beginning than this? Although it is specifically directed towards neurodivergent students, it is also representative of students who might have more talent or interest towards arts than core subjects but are not given the opportunities. One line from the show stood out to me, ‘we are given different ingredients and expected to present the same results,’ which perfectly sums up the show and the title, Melonade.
Although the show bravely names the government officials responsible for the lacking education system, at times I personally felt like words were as much blamed as people. In the show, it was stated that the arts are the way of creativity and not words. While I see the point of words, especially those they are expected to write in a limited amount of time, being difficult for the expression of dyslexic people, writing is also a form of art, the one I personally choose to express my creativity in. I agree that it is not the ONLY form of creative expression and people should have the option to express themselves in any way they feel comfortable. I am certain the creators of the show did not intend this and I am a hundred per cent on the same page with them but that was one side of the show that got me thinking.
On another note, it had the use of a background voice that gave instructions and the voice of the conservatives trying to force the towards that typicality, which was a vital part of the show but at times it was too muffled and hard to understand. Other than that the costume choice, props, sound and lighting was all very well-thought.
Melonade is as informative and eye-opening as it is entertaining. It is bold, it is funny and innovative. Overall, it is a five-star show. I hope that the VAULT Festival can be saved and keep being home to such amazing shows.