Writer/Director: Scot Williams
Reviewer: Stephanie Rowe
What 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.