Review – ‘The House of Yes’ at Main Stage West
Dec 10, 2018
by Alexa Chipman
The selfish, twisted relationships in 'The House of Yes' will make your family seem refreshingly normal. This brilliant comedy by Wendy MacLeod is like watching a fast-paced tennis match of snappy zingers, with disturbing sexual tension amongst the narcissistic characters. A hurricane is howling outside when Marty and his fiancée Lesly arrive for Thanksgiving dinner, stumbling into a hive of neurotic family members, from the flamboyant mother to Marty's twin sister, who is prone to hysteria when not given her way.
MacLeod's flashes of rapid scene transitions give foreboding insights into the unsettling background of Marty and his sister, Jackie-O, maintaining dazzling repartee and ferocious satire. DirectorElizabeth Craven keeps the nimble pacing easy to follow, with impeccable rhythm. Her production design with David Lear of luxurious chic black and white with floating, empty picture frames and a sparkling chandelier is absolutely superb, even if it draws from previous stagings. Missy Weaver's lighting design is subtle and unobtrusive, with a power outage during the hurricane, followed by hovering candlelight gradually spreading across the stage.
Jackie-O's exuberant mania is entirely focused on her brother, with an unhealthy fixation on roleplaying the Kennedy assassination. Sharia Pierce navigates between a spoiled, petty mood and sinister, obsessive tendencies for a fascinating performance. Desperately trying to be normal and failing, Marty (Sam Coughlin) demonstrates a slow descent into self-indulgent delusion, clinging to Lesly (Ilana Niernberger) as a lifeline.
Irresponsibly manipulative, Anthony (Elijah Pinkham) is aware of his family's erratic behavior and chooses to ignore it, nourishing his own self-serving proclivities. His languid approach to life has worked so far, and he sees little reason to alter it. His interactions with Lesly are uncomfortably fascinating.
'The House of Yes' is an erotic exploration of the upper class giving in to amoral desires, unable to see beyond themselves. This unique, marvelous dark comedy from Main Stage West is a triumph of unsettling debauchery.
Due to sexual content and adult themes, this play is not appropriate for children.
Presented by Main Stage West through December 16, 2018
Thur/Fri/Sat at 8:00pm, Sun at 5:00pm
Main Stage West
104 North Main Street, Sebastopol, CA 95472
Photos by Eric Chazankin
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