House of Yes - Theatre Review

A Review by Suzanne Birrell.

The show started nine minutes late. The opening was stark and intense. I had approximately two minutes of uncertainty and then was hooked and fully engaged in The House Of Yes, a twisted and witty play by Wendy Macleod, directed by Lee Sankowich (who gave us the original "One Flew over the Cuckoo's Nest") and currently on stage at the Zephyr Theatre.

The story takes place in 1983 on Thanksgiving. It opens with an intense Jackie-O (Kate Maher) obsessively rearranging the furniture in preparation for her twin brother's return. We realize that she is certifiably crazy in that she somehow has blurred her father's disappearance with the Kennedy assassination. We meet her nervous younger brother Anthony (Nicholas McDonald) and her wry mother (Eileen T'Kaye) who are concerned about whether Jackie-O has taken her meds. Her twin brother Marty (Colin McGurk) is returning home and is bringing a guest. They've never had a visitor before. The family dynamics are paralleled by the hurricane that is beginning to blow. (Great sound design by Norman Kern)  The checkerboard floor hints at the checkered past that is going to be revealed (set design-Adam Haas Hunter). When the guest turns out to be a fiancée - Lesly ( Jeanne Syquia) - Jackie-O starts drinking and Pandora's Box is opened.

Director Lee Sankowich has done a brilliant job in conducting the dynamics and timing of this shocking satire about class snobbery, mental illness, incest, brother rivalry, bodies in the back-yard and more. We are shocked and then we laugh; and then we are shocked at what we've laughed at. Sometimes the action is uncomfortably intense (especially for the audience down stage-left).

Kate Maher plays Jackie-O with a balance of vulnerability and craftiness. She seems to enjoy being crazy. Jeanne Syquia is totally convincing as the sweet, innocent, horrified and undignified finance Lesly who works in a donut shop. Nicholas McDonald as little brother Anthony is both innocent and conniving, daring and afraid. Eileen T'Kaye as Mrs. Pascal is wry, witty, and with it. Colin McGurk has a most interesting role. He seems to be only intellectually wanting to be normal in his relationship with his finance while totally and physically immersed in his incestuous relationship with his sister.

House of Yes is one of those plays that only works if performed impeccably well. This production at the Zephyr Theatre is one you won't want to miss. It doesn't get any better than this. A satisfying evening of theatre that will go home with you. I highly recommend this dark comedy for a sophisticated audience.

House of Yes is playing at the Zephyr Theatre thru June 14. Saturdays at 8pm; Sundays at 2pm

7456 Melrose Ave. 90046 


All photos by Ed Krieger

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Posted By Suzanne Birrell on May 12, 2015 03:10 pm | Permalink