Review: Beetles From The West, Hope Theatre

“Please don’t google that”

Trapped inside a hospital waiting room that doesn’t even have a television in it – only a pile of battered games like Uno and Monopoly – Boyd and Jenny anxiously wait for news of his father. A veteran of Afghanistan, his son angrily tells us he’s a Crystal Palace man, the kind of man who never gets ill, but a severe seizure doesn’t lie and as Henry, his doctor, arrives to take a medical history, it becomes clear that this is a household where the health of both the body and the mind has been neglected.

For it emerges that Boyd’s dad has prostate cancer and so James Hartnell’s Beetles From The West deals with the shattering news that a diagnosis can have on those around the patient. And at its elegiac best, the play delves into the memories of all three characters and dredges up their own experiences with their fathers, reflecting on how that has shaped who they are today. Ed Locke’s striking lighting design pulls us out of Kitty Hinchcliffe’s institutional design with poetic power for these sequences and they’re very well done. Continue reading “Review: Beetles From The West, Hope Theatre”