- Gareth K Vile
- 21 August 2018
Bourgeois theatre at its height
Stylistically, thematically and structurally in hock to God of Carnage, The House barely deserves to be reviewed on its own terms. Like Yasmina Reza's incision of surface civility, the plot is two middle class couples gradually revealing their inner savagery, played out in a single sitting room in real time. The script structures their degeneration elegantly with plenty of zingers and a few coups de theatre thrown in: the ensemble are great, the realist set familiar but the characters are so unsympathetic that it fails to be anything more than a ruck between four privileged assholes.
Martyn and Shanny Redmond (David Calvitto and Pauline Goldsmith) excel as the older couple, painfully attached to their family home, while Fisher and Lindsay Libett (Oliver Tilney and Alex Sunderhaus) exude privilege, lending depth to what rapidly becomes a slapstick script and a series of increasingly extravagant set-pieces.
The characters are arguing about house ownership, which might hint at questions about the need for home, but reveals not essential viciousness but pettiness. It is middle-aged, middle-class anxiety lent status by art, an exercise in futility that entertains because it is well written and acted. But the ideas are more pressingly addressed in Carnage and while it holds the attention as a snide romp but doesn't earn its melodramatic finale or plunge the depths of human experience.
Assembly George Square Studios (Two), until 27 Aug (21), £11–£13