Heartbeak Hotel at The Jetty
The sound of a couple’s argument next door and the unexpected drunken entertainer in the hall introduce the world of a run-down, budget hotel. When it becomes apparent the noise is in fact the sound bleed of the following scene, and the audience crammed into the corridor are in the way of the entertainer rushing to make her next cue, the experience is rendered less than immersive.
Heartbreak Hotel, designed by Carla Goodman, is set in the sea container block at the Greenwich peninsula masquerading as the venue for the ACHE programme (Achieving Creative Heartfelt Experiences, not Annoyingly Chaotic Hotel Experience).
In an age when theatre isn’t required to have a linear narrative, a nonsensical approach can achieve successful results. The Theatre of the Absurd movement made Eugène Ionesco one of the most famous playwrights of the 50s and, provided a production isn’t pretending to have a tangible or thought-provoking message, it can be appreciated for what it is: entertainment.
Goodman’s design reflects this – a series of idiosyncratic rooms all numbered as 1, upright suspended beds, the sand-covered floor, a corridor full of eclectic clutter – the set reshapes the show. It is a shame the audience are moved from one space to the next so quickly, losing the opportunity to explore.
The production promenades through excerpts of relationships: we are introduced to a mourning couple attempting to reconnect after the death of their daughter, a coke addict using a dominatrix as a counselor, and a fling between programme staff. Director Sam Curtis-Lindsay injects each scene with its own energy and emotion, and though the voyeuristic nature satisfies the audience, we see little development. As soon as a character is identified, it’s on to the next one.
Brad Clapson (in the role of an ACHE worker) is notable, encouraging audience participation and alienating individuals as he recounts the woes of a past relationship. He takes awkward to a commendable level by having the room chant the name the person who broke one participant’s heart, including his current girlfriend.
The production is fun and it’s a perfect way to spend the evening after a long day at work, broadly because you aren’t required to think too much – and there is a free glass of booze with each ticket.
Heartbreak Hotel is on at The Jetty until 27th September 2015, for further information or to book visit here.
Watch the trailer for Heartbreak Hotel here:
Please accept YouTube cookies to play this video. By accepting you will be accessing content from YouTube, a service provided by an external third party.
If you accept this notice, your choice will be saved and the page will refresh.