Wednesday, 13 June 2018

The Wasp - Hope Mill Theatre, Manchester

A wasp is one of those insects that are disliked by many of us, as they possess many negative traits. This play written by Morgan Lloyd Malcolm shows us that just like wasps, us humans are capable of these negative characteristics too.

On the surface, Heather (Charlie Young) and Carla (Debbie Brannan) couldn’t be more different. Heather is a successful glamorous woman with a nice house, ‘happily’ married with expensive tastes - all she is missing is a child. Carla is pregnant with her fifth child and finds it hard to make a living.

The play starts as the pair meet for the first time since leaving school. It’s not to reminisce about their school days, but for a ‘business’ deal. Heather witnessed Carla’s behaviour through school and thinks she is the only one fit to carry out the job. Carla (and the audience) are taken aback by Heather’s proposition. As the play develops we learn the ladies have more in common than they care to admit. Both reveal experiences from their past lives, through fantastic naturalistic acting and dialogue, leading them to become the people they are today. With Carla her rough upbringing is clear to see, however Heather’s problems run a lot deeper than that. It’s clear that the history this pair have is not a pleasant one and went far beyond a bit of name calling.

There are so many twists and turns that the audience gasp with each shocking moment. Both Young and Brannan put in powerhouse performances in this epic two-hander. Although both characters are deranged, they both do such a great job that their logic somehow becomes reasonable at times. Young probably just edges it for me as I felt her character went on more of a journey.

The only negative thing I would have to say about The Wasp is the staging and the set. The set consists of an array of nets across the stage. Although these were nice to look at and creative, they unfortunately spoiled the view for many of the audience. My side of the audience completely missed the emotion of Carla being tied in the chair, as it was at the opposite site of the stage and our view was blocked. Otherwise, a truly brilliant and thought-provoking madhouse of a play.

Reviewer - Eddie Walsh
on - 12/6/18

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