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Review: Chyna, Vault Festival - deaf teen's joyous portrayal of a year in her life

Chyna Brianna Harrison-Bell is a 15-year-old deaf performer and in her eponymous show, she documents a year in her life.

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Chyna, Vault Festival 2020

Using video, dance, movement and sign-language and with the help of director Laurence Dollander, we are introduced to Chyna's life at home, at school and with her friends.

Her personality shines through in the expression of her movement and sign language, she is bubbly, funny, full of energy and ideas for the future.

Chyna is a keen observer of others, brilliantly portraying her friends' different personalities in a segment that culminates in an inventive solo re-enactment of a football match.

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 Laurence Dollander and Chyna, Vault Festival 2020

She is also a keen observer of the world around her, selecting details which bring the narrative to life, immersing you in her world.

Outside of school, we follow her to Jamaica to visit family and then back at home with her sisters including a new addition.

There are obstacles to overcome in being deaf and communicating but these feel like minor details against the backdrop of the fun times she has.

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Chyna, Vault Festival 2020

In many ways, Chyna is the story of an ordinary teen but equally, there is something extraordinary in the joy and expressiveness with which her story is told.

There are elements that become a little repetitive but it didn't stop me smiling and laughing throughout.

I'm giving Chyna ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ and you can see it at the Vault Festival until 5 March.

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Q&A with Chyna on what dance means to her and her hopes for the future.

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