Tag Archives: Colette Eaton

The House of Yes

★★★★

Hope Theatre

The House of Yes

The House of Yes

Hope Theatre

Reviewed – 10th October 2019

★★★★

 

“You’re guaranteed to feel sickened and hysterically entertained at the same time.”

 

Director Mathew Parker clearly has a penchant for tales that are dark and disturbing. Having had previous success with other Hope Theatre in-house productions, Thrill Me: The Leopold and Loeb Story, The Lesson and Lovesong of The Electric Bear, they all have a similar theme of sinister unsettlement to them. Parker undisputedly has a knack for the genre of black comedy/thriller and brings his expertise to this latest show. The House of Yes is deliciously uncomfortable yet devilishly funny. A rare outing of Wendy Macleod’s under-the-radar 90’s hit play and film, this is a thrilling revival, losing none of its shock value or humour.

It’s Thanksgiving in Washington D.C. A hurricane is sweeping through the capital, but it’s not just the weather that’s blowing up a storm. The Pascal family, of upper-class, WASP-ish pedigree, who live in a time warp since the Kennedy assassination, are feverishly awaiting the arrival of the prodigal son, Marty (Fergus Leathem). None is as excited for his return as his unstable twin sister Jackie-O (Colette Eaton). However the presence of Marty’s fiancee, Lesly (Kaya Bucholc), there to meet the family, comes as somewhat of a surprise. The obsessive Jackie is not best pleased, younger brother Anthony (Bart Lambert) is infatuated, and Mother Pascal (Gill King) is judging from the shadows as she watches on. In a series of twisted events and manipulations, the night soon becomes a Thanksgiving no one will forget.

The cast, on a whole, do a marvellous job at giving heightened performances that never fall into being camp and melodramatic, which could so easily occur with Macleod’s writing. Eaton as Jackie-O teases you with her fragility, never knowing when she might do something drastic, whilst Lambert’s oddball physicality and leering looks as Anthony are decidedly creepy and comical all-in-one.

The studio space is decked out by designer Rachael Ryan with gold drapes, and gilded frames, to give a nod to the cavernous, elaborate home of the Pascals, yet uses the intimate environment of the theatre, full of shadowy little corners, to heighten the gothic, haunted house aesthetic.

With an Absurdist veneer and Noël Coward-like sensibility, The House of Yes gives an unconventional take on theatrical commonalities, creating its own Frankenstein mish-mash of genres. The subtext hints to deeper messages on the themes of family politics, and the American class system, but never lets this interfere with the stylised exterior. Instead it is just tantalisingly bubbling under the surface. Regardless of being nearly 30 years old, this play still feels rather daring, even if not so relevant to today. You’re guaranteed to feel sickened and hysterically entertained at the same time.

 

Reviewed by Phoebe Cole

Photography by lhphotoshots

 


The House of Yes

Hope Theatre until 26th October

 

Last ten shows reviewed at this venue:
The Ruffian On The Stair | ★★★★ | January 2019
Getting Over Everest | ★★★ | April 2019
Thrill Me: The Leopold & Loeb Story | ★★★★★ | April 2019
Uncle Vanya | ★★★★ | April 2019
True Colours | ★★★★ | May 2019
Cuttings | ★★★½ | June 2019
The Censor | ★★ | June 2019
River In The Sky | ★★★ | August 2019
Call Me Fury | ★★★ | September 2019
It’s A Playception | ★★★★ | September 2019

 

Click here to see our most recent reviews

 

Conquest – 4 Stars

Conquest

Conquest

The Bunker

Reviewed – 30th May 2018

★★★★

“This play has a dark undercurrent and tackles serious topics, but it does not take itself too seriously”

 

‘Conquest’, the debut play from new company PearShaped Theatre, is an honest and comedic tale about sexual consent, power dynamics and modern-day feminism. The play centres on the characters Jo and Alice who, after a chance meeting at a pharmacy, develop a relationship that sees them go from sharing accounts of unpleasant sexual experiences, to exacting revenge on sexually destructive men through some rather unusual cupcakes.

The new company, formed by Jess Daniels, Katie Caden and Rachel Smith (Director, Writer and Producer respectively) is focused on creating female-led theatre, with a twist on traditional forms of storytelling. Indeed, the play does not shy away from being a response to the current climate of abuse and gender inequality, and this play has a strong female voice. This voice, however, is not overly-polemic. Instead it is sharp, witty, at times self-deprecating and shamelessly honest. Katie Caden’s script is a gift to the actors, who are able to articulate the play’s significant themes through natural dialogue that reveals so much about the characters, who are played brilliantly by Colette Eaton and Lucy Walker-Evans.

There is a clear connection and chemistry between the two performers, who also display some excellent multi-rolling skills, especially in the frantic feminist meeting room scenes. Walker-Evans in particular brings a nervous energy that fits perfectly with her character’s uncertainty at how best to channel her frustrations. The play lives in uncertainty, be it when the girls become uncertain as to whether their protests are effective, or when the protagonists act in ways that make the audience uncertain whether they are victims, or a destructive force. All of these exciting parts are expertly woven together by Jess Daniels, whose direction has formed a show that is clean and crisp, but also charged with life and excitement for the audience.

This play has been marketed as ‘Fight Club meets Calendar Girls’, and while it may not have the intensity of the David Fincher film, this is a fun and apt description. This play has a dark undercurrent and tackles serious topics, but it does not take itself too seriously. If you’re interested in new, female-led theatre then this is a great show to see. If you are not, it’s still definitely worth a watch. Get yourself down to the Bunker’s underground theatre for this fun and fearless female story.

 

Reviewed by Edward Martin

Photography by Ali Wright

 


Conquest

The Bunker until 9th June

 

Related
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Electra | ★★★★ | March 2018
Devil With the Blue Dress | ★★ | April 2018
Reboot: Shorts | ★★★ | April 2018

 

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