Review: The House of Yes, Hope Theatre

There’s a whole lot of morbid fascination in The House of Yes, Matthew Parker’s directorial swansong at the Hope Theatre

“Were you poor? Did you eat chicken pot pie?”

For his final show as a director, outgoing AD of the Hope Theatre Matthew Parker (interview here) has turned once again to the ever-so-slightly macabre, in reviving Wendy MacLeod’s 1990 The House of Yes. And in a rather pleasing note, a host of familiar faces can be spotted in the cast – Bart Lambert (Thrill Me), Fergus Leathem (Brimstone and Treacle), Colette Eaton (Her Aching Heart) are joined by Gill King and Kaya Bucholc to take a step way onto the dark side.

The Pascals live in Washington DC but though it is 20 years since JFK’s assassination, the shadow of the Kennedys looms large over this clan. And over a hurricane-swept Thanksgiving, twin siblings Marty and Jackie-O are set to be reunited, though as he’s bringing a new fiancĂ©e Lesly and she’s got a pills-addled mother and horny younger brother in tow, it is clear this ain’t going to be your average family gathering. Continue reading “Review: The House of Yes, Hope Theatre”

Review: Conquest, VAULT Festival

Adding to the thought-provoking feminist work at this year’s VAULT Festival – Katie Caden’s Conquest

“Today children, we’re going to talk about sexual consent”

Welcome to the world’s first revenge cupcake company though if you’re a man whose behaviour has been somewhat wanting, you might want to check the frosting. This eye-opening (but honestly, not so far from the realms of reality) business idea lies at the heart of Katie Caden’s Conquest, which asks questions of how pro-active feminists need to be in contemporary society.

At the heart of the show is the relationship between Jo and Alice. They meet by chance in a Boots, where Jo spots Alice crying after a sexual assault has left her in need of a morning-after pill. And as an unlikely friendship blossoms, the ferociously feminist Jo (“she uses the word ‘patriarchy’ in everyday sentences” introduces Alice to the world of Conquest, the company she’s started up with a band of equally wronged women. Continue reading “Review: Conquest, VAULT Festival”

Review: Her Aching Heart, Hope Theatre

“I love her”

The Hope Theatre’s Gothic Season winds to a close with a slightly more positive take on the genre – festive-gothic perhaps – in Bryony Lavery’s Her Aching Heart. A pastiche of Gothic literature in which modern day Harriet and Molly find themselves both reading the same lesbian bodice-ripper novel, it just so happens the main characters are called Lady Harriet Helstone and Molly Penhallow, and so we see connections build between both their real and literary selves as they take the first steps in a putative relationship.

Directed by the Hope’s AD Matthew Parker, the re-enactment scenes are quite frankly hilarious. Split into chapters with titles like ‘A Nun Has A Nightmare’, ‘A Buxom Young Wench And A Sprightly Old Woman’ and ‘Thorns’, the love/hate tug of war between village lass Molly and society lady Harriet is fast-paced and funny, with a tip of the hat, a wink of an eye and its tongue very much in cheek. They meet on a hunt when Molly tries to save the fox, played by a hand puppet, and once the broad and bawdy humour starts, it rarely relents.  Continue reading “Review: Her Aching Heart, Hope Theatre”