Wendy Hoose review at Soho Theatre, London – ‘warm, funny and full of heart’
Jake and Laura are looking for the same thing: casual, late-night, weekend sex, wi’ nae strings attached. Excuse the Scottishism, but it’s hard to resist thinking in it after an hour in the Wendy Hoose, as the show’s dialogue, both written and spoken, is steeped in it. Written in the sense that the show is captioned throughout (as well as signed, and audio described by a rather dry and judgemental narrator), so you see every word above the stage.
Writer-director Johnny McKnight and co-director Robert Softly Gale are playing with the difference between written and spoken dialect, but they’re also playing with captioning and audio description, and the potential layering of jokes and commentary that all these extra voices can bring. This is an attempt to widen access that’s intrinsic to the art itself, rather than the last thing to be considered, and it actually feels pretty revolutionary.
Wendy Hoose is far less generic, more interesting and more worth your time than its ’20-somethings doing casual sex-based soul searching’ set-up makes it sound. McKnight’s script zips along with such relentless, fizzing humour that you barely notice how much ground he’s covering – but between class, disability, soul-searching, work, play and parenthood, it’s a lot.
James Young and Amy Conachan are excellent as Jake and Laura, their chemistry taking Wendy Hoose from being a clever show to one that is warm, funny and full of heart, without ever becoming saccharine.
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