Drama Review: The Hothouse

As a Drama A Level student, the study of theatre has always fascinated me. The ‘Theatre of the Absurd’ is a concept of theatre that we’re currently studying, and one man in particular who pioneered this genre was the playwright Harold Pinter. As I had never seen a Pinter play before, I experienced feelings of extreme nervousness and unfathomable curiosity entering the theatre, about to see a play so shrouded in mystery and suspense.

Ivan L’s Roote brilliantly lifted the tense atmosphere giving those much needed comic interludes as the posh, ignorant and somewhat snobbish director of the institution (what the institution is, is subject to interpretation – another ambiguous element characterising this play). Ivan successfully pulled off a complicated role with determination and gusto, and certainly managed with great skill to interweave the comic aspects of his character with his more serious side.

Serena B R played the manipulative Miss Cutts with great poise and control, which resulted in an unsettling character being portrayed: a flirtatious woman who knows what she wants and is not afraid to use any means to achieve her goal. Serena’s stage presence and gravitas set the tone for a conniving character who sent shivers of fear down my spine.

Seb S’s performance was quite remarkable. Playing Gibbs, an enigmatic character, Seb’s use of the stage ensured that the reticence of his character was portrayed successfully. A breathtaking tension stemmed from the rivalry between Gibbs and Max L’s Lush. The two characters bounced off each other superbly, and their starkly different personalities really shone through to create jaw-dropping moments of suspense and comic interludes.

Seb O’s Lamb was a complete contrast to the severe and frosty Gibbs. An absolute chatterbox with a pleasant and sunny disposition, Seb marvellously showed the gullibility of his character when he was strapped into the chair of torture. He subsequently showed the sheer agony his character experienced with the greatest energy.

Harry A and Rex W completed the cast, creating vivid and entirely believable characters, Lobb and Tubb respectively.

Reflecting on the performance, I can say that never before have I laughed and felt genuinely afraid at the same time. I suppose one could say that it was Pinter’s genius that enabled the audience to feel such emotions; yet it was the cast’s interpretation of a complex and often baffling play that left a lot of food for thought as the production drew to a close.

Dante P, Lower Sixth