Review: Hang at The Other Room.

I
have a lot to say about the death penalty, so when I was invited
along to review Hang, a play written by Debbie Tucker Green and
brought to the stage by Run Amok, I was both hesitant and intrigued.
The venue for this harrowing performance was The Other Room, a
fantastic extension of Porter’s in Cardiff.

We
had never been to Porter’s nor The Other Room before, and as we
entered it was like stepping into another world. From fabulous photo
frames scattered across the walls to cute and quirky additions such
as theatre seats as part of the furniture and an eclectic mix of
folk, this is place you should definitely check out if you’re a fan
of theatrical vibes.

When
it’s time for the performance to begin, the curtain to The Other Room
is drawn open and a bell can be heard across the bar. You’re then
given the low-down of how it all works; mobiles switched off, bring
drinks with you and don’t forget, if you need to leave you can’t get
back in again. After watching Hang I can totally see why the last
rule is in place- the performance would be totally disrupted with
people going in and out all the time, so yeah I totally support the
fact that once you’re out, you’re out…

We
chose front row seats as advised by the lovely staff, and I think it
was a very good idea indeed! We were in the performance from start to
finish and you end up feeling like a fly-on-the-wall as the story
unfolds. 

So,
Hang, a play about a world where the death penalty is still legal in
the UK, and to top it off, the victim is responsible for choosing how
the perpetrator dies… Yep, it’s a heavy storyline, but it’s
fascinating, emotional and daringly humorous at times.

From
the off I was drawn into the world of the three characters, and it
was an absolute delight to see Alexandria Riley again after her
performance in How My Light Is Spent. It was fab to see her take on a
completely different role and I’m also very excited to see her in The
Cherry Orchard later this year. Her ability to become the character
she is cast is completely flawless, her performance as ‘One’ was both
mesmerising and brutal. I definitely felt frustrated by her
character; she appeared somewhat cold, lacking in compassion and
unable to possibly relate to the situation of the victim ‘Three’,
outstandingly performed by Anita Reynolds. 
 

Reynolds
performed like a powerful, passionate and pained poet. I felt my
heart break as she described the devastating effects on her children
caused by the man awaiting his fate. I struggled to fully understand
what had or hadn’t happened to Three and her family, although Warren
felt a sense that a child had been murdered, I have to say I couldn’t
quite grasp this piece of information from the performance because I
felt no real light is shed to fully explain the crime. Obviously,
when it comes to the death penalty, there’s an assumption that
someone has been murdered, but I would have liked a bit more
information about what, how and who.

Despite
this, I still felt pain and anguish for Three, Reynolds performed the
shaken mother with such passion and it would have been futile to
resist the feelings her performance evoked. Her anger was evident
from the off, and I felt very angry for her, especially when thinking
of my own children.

I
could also relate to the frustration felt as Three dealt with One and
Two, who have the job of finalising the perpetrator’s type of death
with the victim. Riley was joined by Seren Vickers, a somewhat timid
and sycophantic character, who made me tear-up during the latter part
of the performance. As the dialogue evolves Riley is seen to be hurt
and emotionally affected by both One’s (understandably) aggressive
attitude and her painful and devastating story. 
 

Both
Riley and Vickers performed as the jobs-worth pair with perfection,
yet they were, at times, complete opposites in character. They also
held a lot of humour, and this writing was both witty, well timed and
perfectly performed. It was the kind of humour the audience could
truly relate to; office meetings, paperwork and training based on
role-play, the writing completely tore into the world of protocol and
pointless rules and it was perfectly played.

The
ending was a little neither here nor there for me, and I think I
would have preferred some sort of resistance from One, with regards
to two decisions she has to make. I think this is personal taste
though, not necessarily a criticism of the play.

Warren
and I both really enjoyed Hang, despite the dark subjects, it was
intriguing and powerful and it made me question my anti-death penalty
beliefs, something I think I will be debating for the rest of time
itself…

So
get down to The Other Room while you can to check out three amazing
women performing in a compelling, creative and captivating play.

Hang
is running until 16th September and tickets are £12. Photo credit: Kieran Cudlip.

Disclosure:
I received tickets in exchange for review. All opinions are 100%
honest and my own.
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