It’s hard to believe that six months have passed since 49 people were killed and 53 were wounded in a terrorist attack and hate crime inside Pulse, a gay nightclub in Orlando, Florida, in the United States.

To mark the occasion, Chaskis Theatre Company performed a poignant show called After Orlando at The Vaults Theatre, in Launcelot Street, Waterloo, last night.

The show was written as a response to the attacks and was comprised of a series short pieces that were specifically curated by emerging and established international voices in theatre, including Neil Labute, Winter Miller and Anders Lustgarten.

Chaskis Theatre Company works with playwrights from the Americas to share stories and cultural perspectives that may previously go unheard.

As well as raising awareness and discussing the events of that one devastating night, all the profit from ticket sales and donations went to Stonewall, a charity which campaigns for the equality of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people across Britain, and also the right to acceptance without exception.

The Vaults Theatre was located under a railway line in Waterloo and was very atmospheric, as it was dark and eerie, with only the distant echoing of passing trains making a slight noise.

There was no formal stage, just an empty space in front of the rows of seats and as we sat down, we walked past the actors, who were sat in two rows with their notes.

The show featured actress Maddy Hill, who is best known for her role as Nancy Carter in the long-running BBC soap EastEnders, and wanted to get involved due to her belief that the theatre is a strong platform to bring together previously unheard voices to share their grief, anger and hope, whilst also raising awareness about issues surrounding hate crimes.

The 26-year-old performed a number of monologues, including The Healing Power Of Bright Colours, which was written by Ryan Gielen and explored the role that masculinity plays in terrorism. She grabbed the audience’s attention quickly with her words and managed to be both witty and moving at the same time.

Another standout performer was Janet Kumah, who reduced many audience members to tears with her short piece called Gone Silent, which was written by Jennifer Maisel.

She sat on a chair and relived a phone conversation between a mother and son that followed the last moments of his life after he was shot. He rang to tell her he was okay, even though he was dying and she begged him to not hang up and leave her.

Despite the fact there wasn't a set or any props, the actors managed to spark our imagination and as they were telling their stories, it felt like we were actually seeing the scene being played out in front of our eyes.

It was a powerful show that reminded the audience that even though the lives of so many were cut short so quickly, their dreams, personalities and determination to live as their true selves, will never be forgotten.

Star-rating: *****

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