Review: 4**** The House of Yes – Hope Theatre @TheHouseOfYesH1 @TheHopeTheatre

Tweetingit: 4**** Warring siblings clash in the very definition of a dysfunctional family. The Kennedys loom large as a certain pink two piece and pill box hat take on new significance; top drama not to be missed.

A fascination with the Kennedy clan endures partly because they are the closest America will ever come to a royal family; but more because they were truly aspirational. Descended from poor Irish immigrants they fought for power and status. No wonder the Pascals are so enamoured of a family that still has a compound; opposite their home in a wealthy suburb of Washington D.C.

Our story lands on the eve of Thanksgiving 1983; exactly twenty years after JFK was shot in Dallas. A hurricane is brewing outside and things are just as stormy in the Pascal household. Mother (Gill King) is frenetically preparing for the homecoming of son Marty (Fergus Leathem). Twin sister Jackie-O (Colette Eaton) is beside herself with excitement. Her mood drops to sub-zero when she learns that Marty has his fiancée Lesly (Kaya Bucholc) with him. Younger brother Anthony (Bart Lambert) is deeply impressed by Lesly’s presence and feels a certain frisson with his brother’s intended bride.

The family go to war as long standing secrets race to the surface. Mother doped out of her eyeballs on prescription drugs, cannot resist temptation to stir the pot. It becomes obvious that Jackie-O is fixated on Marty as Lesly’s insecurity grows. Anthony eagerly spots a chink and makes hopeful advances towards Lesly. She wonders who the interloper really is in a disturbing three way relationship. The rapport between Jackie-O and Marty quickly resumes and Lesly feels excluded. The reasons for Jackie-O’s nickname became clear following a fancy dress party; and it dawns on Lesly what kind of family she might be joining.

The House of Yes is a highly articulate, well written drama exploring the tension that festered in a family who wanted for nothing. Bickering siblings are in every family, but unlike most, the Pascals have been given everything they’ve ever asked for (hence the play’s title). There is a distinct quality in Wendy Macleod’s writing that creates a narrative positively dripping with atmosphere. The characters were presumably aiming for northern style Bostonian accents but came across as deep southerners. This presented no issues but had the effect of pushing the play into Tennessee Williams territory. There are certainly parallels in characters that could easily inhabit a Williams story. The cast were in superlative form, but Colette Eaton absolutely nailed it as swivel eyed psychotic Jackie-O. It looks like the Hope Theatre has another hit on their hands.

Writer: Wendy Macleod

Director: Matthew Parker

Producer: The Hope Theatre

Box Office: 0333 666 3366

More information can be found here

Booking Until: 26 October 2019

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