Pros: Alice Pitt-Carter’s energetic portrayal as she rips through a 70 minute performance with ease.
Cons: A slightly uneven plot doesn’t quite deliver the pay-off that is so richly deserved.
Whenever I’m handed earplugs prior to a show I feel a curious mix of fear and excitement. Fear because I’m reminded of Idol Berserker at the Barbican (which involved earplugs, plastic ponchos and cling film: believe me that’s all you need to know); but also excitement because it means I’m going to hear some loud music. Well not quite, as the excellent Old Red Lion Theatre is a particularly tight space; and a solitary drum kit almost filled the stage.
Hear me Howl tells the story of Jess (Alice Pitt-Carter), a twentysomething looking her thirties squarely between the eyes. A mid-life (or possibly mid youth?) crisis comes to visit. Jess feels the need to re-evaluate her life: steady job, steady boyfriend… just plain steady. But is that really what Jess wants? A chance encounter on social media leads her to join a post punk band called Finrot as drummer. But Jess can’t play the drums, which puts her in the raw and untested category. She revels in her new found freedom and awakens the punk lurking deep within her. However, there is a storm gathering, as her boyfriend wants to settle down.
Alice Pitt-Carter owns the stage and confidently struts her way through the story, using the drum kit as both a prop and instrument. Bass and snare drum, hi-hat and symbols become punctuation marks in a bright, well observed portrayal. Whilst script and performance are perfectly matched, the plot trails off far too quickly. Playing in the band is cathartic and lends clarity as Jess makes a life-changing decision. There the plot ends, as she plays her first gig with Finrot – a glorious declaration of her true self. But here’s where I think the pay-off is ultimately lost: we hear nothing of the emotional fall out. This gives the plot a lopsided feel, as it doesn’t deal with the consequences. Nevertheless, Hear me Howl is great fun and Alice Pitt-Carter is a talented, charismatic performer. Author Lydia Rynne also shows great promise, but needs to find a suitable conclusion to this otherwise engaging play.
Author: Lydia Rynne
Director/Dramaturg: Kay Michael
Music Consultant: Fay Milton
Producer: Caley Powell for Lights Down Productions
Box Office: 0333 012 4963
Booking Link: https://www.oldredliontheatre.co.uk/iqs/dbitemid.46/sfa.view/all
Booking until: 29th September 2018