House of Yes-One Twisted Sister
Okay, well, Wendy MacLeod’s House of Yes isn’t for everyone. The reason it isn’t, of course, is also one of the work’s central themes: sometimes you just kind of want to fuck your sister. I, however, just love, love, love the shit out of this NSFWish play-it’s a treat to see it staged, too, because it’s obvs not the kind of thing that gets around much. One dark and stormy night, a prodigal son returns-it’s Marty (Eric Paul Boesche), whose “left behind” family consists of his brother Anthony (Brian M. Kehoe), his mother, Mrs. Pascal (Deb Carson) and his twin! sister Jackie-O (Melody Easton). Only Marty ain’t alone. He’s brought with him a fiancee, poor, poor Lesly (Karen Grim) who enters the Pascal mansion of horrors in the grand tradition of Elaine, Mortimer’s oblivious squeeze in Arsenic and Old Lace. This ain’t no delightful drawing room, though, in this upscale family one member may sniffily evoke Emily Post while in the next room another may be, as aforementioned, fucking his sister. See, Jackie-O is a spoiled and fragile basket case tossing pills around like they’re mixed drink garnishes. She and Marty have been doing the dirty since they were kids, fueled by an elaborate sexual fantasy involving the assassination of John F. Kennedy. I have to confess right here that I now have a certified stage crush on Melody Easton. Her Jackie-O is a delightful trip; she’s clearly having SO. MUCH. FUN. She can do…something…with her eye where it not quite twitches and not quite flutters and it’s like, absolutely divine. Other standouts include Kehoe’s Anthony, the slightly half-witted younger brother (who knew a conversation about guest towels could be so weird, funny and erotically charged?) and Grim’s Lesly, a baby-voiced steel magnolia who makes no bones about the fact that her family might have had to eat pancakes for dinner but at least weren’t FUCKING THEIR SISTERS. Wasn’t quite feeling Boesche’s Marty, though-while he is a certified sisterfucker, I wanted to see moments where he fights against the tide of his attraction to Jackie-O and struggles to come off a normal guy, one that a girl like Lesly might actually marry, a first scene Norman Bates. Unfortunately, I didn’t. He’s a little too creepy too fast. Similarly, Mrs. Pascal is not Carson’s role. While she definitely looks the part (I would kill for this woman’s facial bone structure) she needs to carry herself with the kind of distant matriarchal confidence only the recently displaced upper crust can muster-the kind that says “Yes, my children are fucking each other, but what CAN you do-have you seen my Oriental rugs?”. Carson doesn’t pull this off and throws away her best lines. Set by David Morey, who also directed, is pretty minimal and serves the purpose despite looking a little tired. I liked the strum und drang of the thunder crashes (sound by David Morey and Jennifer Toll) that wittily point up the dialogue though there’s some rather pointless musical underscoring in places of the sort that works in movies but comes off a little silly on stage.
Bottom line: It ain’t perfect, but some unusually fresh performances make this sick ticket a dark n’ comic macabre beauty. See it.
Running at The Mobtown Players through November 23rd
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