As Christmas Day approaches, Richard and Sally are waiting for friends and family to arrive to begin celebrating. But after a recent and painful death in the family, tensions are already running high. "I told you we should have gone to the Caribbean," one character sighs. A dark suburban comedy about our collective love and hatred of the Christmas season— and how being together can also highlight the absence of other people. There are always elephants in the room with you.
Wary of giving anything away, multi-talented writer Rose Heiney promises a "dark and funny, a bit sad and very very Christmassy" night out. "I'm obsessed with Christmas," she confesses, "It's so emotionally overloaded." And the subsequent disintegration makes for glorious comedy. If you're wondering what to expect, Heiney is a great fan of Tracey Lett's play about a family in meltdown: August: Osage County (recently made into a hit Hollywood film).
This is the third of the three pieces of new-writing that the Hampstead Downstairs famously hosts. It's often a mixed bag and this is Heiney's first outing as a theatrical playwright -- but she has an impressive history. Her novel, The Days of Judy B, was praised by the Guardian for an ability to "explore people's need to mask their real feelings from the world and from themselves". It was subsequently nominated for a Time Out Breakthrough Award. Heiney is a comedy screenwriter who has contributed work to the immensely successful series Fresh Meat, Miranda and Big, Bad World and created half a dozen TV pilots of her own.
"I think the Hampstead Downstairs is special," she says, "Because it's such a small intimate venue, yet with really high production values." If you enjoyed Lucinda Coxon's Herding Cats, which premiered in the same venue in 2011, then you will love Elephants as well. Rose Heiney is a fresh, exciting voice for observational comedy.
|What||Elephants, Hampstead Theatre|
|Where||Hampstead Theatre, Eton Avenue, Swiss Cottage, London, NW3 3EU | MAP|
|Nearest tube||Swiss Cottage (underground)|
11 Dec 14 – 17 Jan 15, 7:45 PM – 9:45 PM
|Website||Click here to book via the Hampstead Theatre website|