THE HOUSE, Theatre Review

Our house is a very, very, very fine house with two cats in the yard,
Life used to be so hard,
Now everything is easy 'cause of you and our—
La, la, la

Our House – Crosby, Stills & Nash

Before I saw The House at the Ever Hopefull Festival, I knew next to nothing about the play. That being the case, it is with care that I write this review as I dearly would like to you to have the same experience I had – to go in with a completely open mind and enjoy yourselves immensely. However, if I had to encapsulate the play, imagine if Alan Ayckbourn and Abigail's Party meshed with Clybourne Park. Quite a heady mix, huh?

The play takes place in an undisclosed suburb in the US. Martyn and Shanny Redmond (Nigel Fairs and Kat Rogers) have signed the legal papers that make Fischer and Lindsay Libett (Edwin Flay and Michelle McKay) the new legal owners of their home. Everyone is really happy and excited for the future. While chatting over drinks, a couple of verbal faux pas are made. Nothing major, but for those with eyes to see, it's a sign that for both couples, being on their best behaviour is a taxing affair.

As time goes on and the alcohol flows, the inappropriate comments from both couple become more frequent and harder to ignore. Once the Redmonds know what's exactly is in store for their former home, they are incensed to the point of no return ...

One of the joys of watching this play is finding what particular issues are bugbears for the respective couples. Sometimes it's the stereotypical opinions about their respective professions or that their taste is questioned. Worse still are comments made about family photos... Throughout the play, even after tempers flare up, for the sake of decorum attempts at being civil are made – until the next insult...

Between Brian Parks' writing, Keith Myers' direction and the cast's perfect comic timing, The House is a gem of play that deserves to be widely seen. Behind the laughs and the 'near the knuckle' remarks, the play is a mirror to our own shortcomings, which often come to light given the right circumstances.

Anyway, I've probably said too much already. Do yourself a favour and catch The House before it closes at the end of September. You know you want to.

© Michael Davis 2015

The Ever Hopefull Repertory Season runs at 6 Frederick's Place, London, EC2R 8AB until 27th September 2015.

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