Assembly Roxy – Upstairs
Lottie (Lauren Lopez) is being tried for the murder of her father (Ryan W Garcia) and his second wife Barfa (Justin Elizabeth Sayre – who’s also the author of this play) by hatchet. The motive? The father’s decision to install a toilet in the house. A seasoned spinster, Lottie has an obnoxious passion for dove rearing and a rather explicit devotion to her own old man. Her little brother Pansy (Tom Lenk), who had his pelvis removed as a child, is so small that he can travel by post. Towards him we experience the most eye-watering selection of homophobic epithets anyone could ever conceive. This is a play that exposes prejudice by the oversaturation of insults, so much so that this becomes the main comedy factor, proving very successful with the audience. The maid Molly (Tom DeTrinis), an Irish immigrant, is another recipient of such well-furnished invective. The stepmother is not safe from this either, who’s described as a whore at the best of times.
The most observant spectators will spot some similarities with the infamous case of Lizzie Borden, which sparked outrage across America in 1892. Both trials ended with the acquittal of the defendant, but the suspicion was never cleared.
Some elements of pantomime – like cross dressing and a tendency to look directly at the audience when delivering the punch lines – also contribute to make this show so engaging. The tempo is sustained by the five-strong cast – all theatre old-hands – who never skip a beat. There’s a black drape at the back of the stage that is used as a screen for the countless costume changes. The more dishevelled the actors come out looking, the more hilarious it becomes. Even more rewarding when we see them having a good time out there; a confirmation that this production is a close-knit affair.
This certainly isn’t a play that would appeal to supporters of the politically correct. The storyline is irreverent and the language lewd but, for this very reason, it had me giggling long after the lights went up.
Written by: Justin Elizabeth Sayre
Directed by: Jessica Hanna
Produced by: Sweet Nell Productions & Outside In Theatre
Lottie Plachett Took a Hatchet plays ath Assembly Roxy until 27 August at 8.35pm. Further information and bookings can be found here.