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 fiancée 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: Brimstone and Treacle, Hope Theatre

“There is no God
There are no miracles”

Dennis Potter’s Brimstone and Treacle marks its 40th anniversary this year and so it’s as good a time as any to revive this dark drama that was so controversial on its release that the BBC banned it from its original Play For Today slot. It eventually played at Sheffield Crucible a year later and though it received a powerfully acted production (Tessa Peake-Jones, Rupert Friend) at the Arcola in 2012, Matthew Parker’s revival for his Hope Theatre feels perfectly poised to capitalise on its relevance to our fractured society.

Though written and set in the late 70s, Potter’s depiction of far-right politics, racism and homophobia, religious intolerance feels horribly recognisable. The way in which one character rationalises his decision to join the National Front has chilling new currency in this post-Brexit world and the supercilious smile that another character occasionally bares to the audience reflects nothing so much as the arrogance of Nigel Farage. Potter’s dramatic form of evil is naturally much more timeless but you can’t help but draw the parallels here.  Continue reading “Review: Brimstone and Treacle, Hope Theatre”