A family lifestyle, arts and culture blog.

9/10/2017

Review: Hang at The Other Room.


I have a lot to say about the death penalty, so when I was invited along to review Hang, a play written by Debbie Tucker Green and brought to the stage by Run Amok, I was both hesitant and intrigued. The venue for this harrowing performance was The Other Room, a fantastic extension of Porter's in Cardiff.

We had never been to Porter's nor The Other Room before, and as we entered it was like stepping into another world. From fabulous photo frames scattered across the walls to cute and quirky additions such as theatre seats as part of the furniture and an eclectic mix of folk, this is place you should definitely check out if you're a fan of theatrical vibes.

When it's time for the performance to begin, the curtain to The Other Room is drawn open and a bell can be heard across the bar. You're then given the low-down of how it all works; mobiles switched off, bring drinks with you and don't forget, if you need to leave you can't get back in again. After watching Hang I can totally see why the last rule is in place- the performance would be totally disrupted with people going in and out all the time, so yeah I totally support the fact that once you're out, you're out…

We chose front row seats as advised by the lovely staff, and I think it was a very good idea indeed! We were in the performance from start to finish and you end up feeling like a fly-on-the-wall as the story unfolds. 


So, Hang, a play about a world where the death penalty is still legal in the UK, and to top it off, the victim is responsible for choosing how the perpetrator dies… Yep, it's a heavy storyline, but it's fascinating, emotional and daringly humorous at times.

From the off I was drawn into the world of the three characters, and it was an absolute delight to see Alexandria Riley again after her performance in How My Light Is Spent. It was fab to see her take on a completely different role and I'm also very excited to see her in The Cherry Orchard later this year. Her ability to become the character she is cast is completely flawless, her performance as 'One' was both mesmerising and brutal. I definitely felt frustrated by her character; she appeared somewhat cold, lacking in compassion and unable to possibly relate to the situation of the victim 'Three', outstandingly performed by Anita Reynolds. 

 

Reynolds performed like a powerful, passionate and pained poet. I felt my heart break as she described the devastating effects on her children caused by the man awaiting his fate. I struggled to fully understand what had or hadn't happened to Three and her family, although Warren felt a sense that a child had been murdered, I have to say I couldn't quite grasp this piece of information from the performance because I felt no real light is shed to fully explain the crime. Obviously, when it comes to the death penalty, there's an assumption that someone has been murdered, but I would have liked a bit more information about what, how and who.

Despite this, I still felt pain and anguish for Three, Reynolds performed the shaken mother with such passion and it would have been futile to resist the feelings her performance evoked. Her anger was evident from the off, and I felt very angry for her, especially when thinking of my own children.

I could also relate to the frustration felt as Three dealt with One and Two, who have the job of finalising the perpetrator’s type of death with the victim. Riley was joined by Seren Vickers, a somewhat timid and sycophantic character, who made me tear-up during the latter part of the performance. As the dialogue evolves Riley is seen to be hurt and emotionally affected by both One's (understandably) aggressive attitude and her painful and devastating story. 

 

Both Riley and Vickers performed as the jobs-worth pair with perfection, yet they were, at times, complete opposites in character. They also held a lot of humour, and this writing was both witty, well timed and perfectly performed. It was the kind of humour the audience could truly relate to; office meetings, paperwork and training based on role-play, the writing completely tore into the world of protocol and pointless rules and it was perfectly played.

The ending was a little neither here nor there for me, and I think I would have preferred some sort of resistance from One, with regards to two decisions she has to make. I think this is personal taste though, not necessarily a criticism of the play.

Warren and I both really enjoyed Hang, despite the dark subjects, it was intriguing and powerful and it made me question my anti-death penalty beliefs, something I think I will be debating for the rest of time itself…

So get down to The Other Room while you can to check out three amazing women performing in a compelling, creative and captivating play.

Hang is running until 16th September and tickets are £12. Photo credit: Kieran Cudlip.


Disclosure: I received tickets in exchange for review. All opinions are 100% honest and my own.
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