Home / Drama / Hope- The Royal Court, Liverpool

Hope- The Royal Court, Liverpool

Writer/Director: Scot Williams

Reviewer: Stephanie Rowe

[Rating:4]

Hope - Liverpool Royal CourtWhat is Hope? both a noun and a verb. Noun: A feeling of expectation and desire for a certain thing to happen. Verb: want something to happen or to be the case.

Scot Williams’ powerful psychological drama, takes us on a powerful journey into the life of Norm (Mark Womack) a writer who is struggling to finish his book, however there are several obstacles in his way stopping him from getting the ending he so desires.

Norm shares his flat with Guy (a strong and stirring performance from Rene Zagger) and his ex-wife Hope, played by real life wife Samantha Womack, here performing together for the first time in many years. Needless to say this isn’t the best situation for any of them and Norm is sent into a world of frustration, anger, rage and irritation, as his flat mate Guy grates on his every nerve with his constant know-it-all persona, continually talking down to Norm and contradicting his every thought.

But things only spiral even further when Hope arrives after a drunken night out with Victor (Scot Williams) wrapped tightly around each other, despite only appearing several times Hope manages to rip apart the lives of those around her and her impact on their lives is always much bigger than they really know or expect.

Directed with flair and finesse Scott Williams manages to combine the rôle of actor and director admirably, there are some strong elements which add depth to the production, using Laurel &Hardy clips on the TV as an inner consciousness is a wonderful touch – however if one is to criticise the production, it would be that the expected ‘Thriller’ side of the production wasn’t as strong as the marketing material would suggest. In the rôle of drug dealing Victor he provided the play with a much needed element of common sense, while he may be morally corrupt, his life experience speaks volumes, he has a strong chemistry with Samantha Womack (Hope) that really brings their tawdry affair from their first passionate on stage kiss, to their off stage fumbles to life.

However the show really shines strongly through Mark Womack’s Norm, who manages to balance the many sides of this unsteady character with precision and dedication.

Hope takes a slightly sideways step to the type of productions we have come to know from the Royal Court, but in no means, is it any less accomplished or entertaining, in fact Hope, is a powerful and thought provoking drama, with plenty of twists to keep you engrossed until the final beat.

The show is an accomplished production and is well worth a trip to the Royal Court to see, It just lacks a certain thriller experience that was expected. It is a very thought provoking play and one has to be curious as to where Williams mind was when he came up with the idea. When the show is over there comes a little twist that keeps you in your sits for a while longer.

Hope runs at the Royal Court until March 23rd 2013

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11 comments

  1. I may have completely missed the point but I saw the play as Norm’s dream which developed around the Laurel and Hardy films which played as he slept.
    Could the other two male leads represent other facets of his own personality? was his image of Hope (the noun) a fantasy?
    Either ways we thoroughly enjoyed the play, particularly the mesmerising performance from Rene Zagger.

  2. Sorry I think I missed the point. I thought it was poor and I didn’t find it funny, although others around me did. I checked with my fiancee who also failed to enjoy it, but you can’t please everyone all the time eh?

  3. a regular visitor to the royal court we saw this play 14/3/13
    went straight over my head ,havent got a clue what it was about niether had the three people with me,or two women one side and four women other side,i saw at least eight people not come back after the interval,shame because the actors were good,i got the impression the cast could really not understand the reason for the reluctant applause at the end,
    i just did,nt get it and came away bewildered.3/10

  4. Dreadful what a waste of a night.
    We where a party of 6 and none of us understood or enjoyed this.
    1 / 10

  5. If asked my opinion of the evening,I’d certainly recommend the food. Completely baffled by what followed ?
    Would somebody please explain the storyline.
    Thank you.

  6. We thought all the characters were facets of Norm’s personality ie. with Guy representing his conscience, Hope his desire/guilt and Victor his procastination/mental block. Very clever writing the sort of thing A level students would debate for hours and quite intellectual – helped if you understood the literary references. Very well acted/directed even if you didn’t like the subject matter and kept us talking for hours about it later so entertaining and thought provoking and something a bit different.

  7. Went to see this play on Wenesday 13 matinee performance I think the date was an omen, wish I hadn’t have bothered. I and my husband walked out at the interval with at least four other people who couldn’t understand the plot and found it really hard going and not the least bit enjoyable, a trip to the dentist would have been less painful. I suggest you give this one a miss unless you want to be bored out of your brain.

  8. How disappointing! I could see the “twist” before the interval but hoped ( if you excuse the pun) for more than what was obvious. It wasn’t to be. I found the play badly acted: Mark Womak woodenly shouting while holding a cactus, Samantha simpering & a Rent a Ghost character being the most credulous as an actor. The direction was poor. The Royal Court, a majestic setting, did not help with this. The atmosphere needed to attempt to pull off a play such as this being lost in such a large auditorium. The playwright, who’s acting was passable, not only wrote, acted & directed this but also posed as much as he could half naked letting his dialogue inform us of how well read he was. Smashing. Well done him. Many of the audience left at the interval, others at various points during the second half. Would I recommend this? No. But that is just my opinion. Sadly those around me seemed to share it.

  9. I went last night and at least 14 or 15 people left at the interval. No doubt like me bored to tears. I wanted to leave myself but my wife likened it to a really bad movie that you had to see to the end!
    It was straight forward enough to follow as long as you stay awake but would never recommend anyone to see it.
    I must have seen over a 100 plays and this was probably the worst.
    0/10

  10. The worst play I’ve seen in 45 years as a regular theatre goer and student of drama. NO drama and the only ‘comedy’ being of the f–k school of comedy where inexplicably the use of this word and its derivatives provided amusement to some sections of the audience. As for psychology, those of us misdirected by the positive reviews of this waste of 2 hours need our heads examining for actually paying to see it. -0/10

  11. just didnot understand it at all a frend of mine fell asleep half way a saw sam womack at empire in south pacife she was brilliant she was wasted in this play