Reviewed by Kathleen Kirby
The House of Yes – an odd title to be sure, but it fits to a tee this very dark comedy now playing as part of the Flint Community Players’ Ghost Light Series. Set in the early 1980s in a wealthy suburb of Washington D.C., an apparently affluent family prepares for Thanksgiving dinner amidst an impending hurricane. We will soon learn, however, that hurricane aside, something is seriously askew inside this house.
Playwright Wendy MacLeod explains her script as about “people that have never been said no to.” She refers to people she’s seen in upper classes as “insulated” and as those “who have cut themselves off from the rest of the world and are living by the rules they’ve invented.” This certainly explains a lot.
Director Tomoko Miller’s troupe is amazingly focused and disturbingly real in their portrayal of this family that gives new meaning to the word dysfunctional. Right off the bat, Jackie-O (Shelby Coleman) enters in a cocktail dress and starts rearranging furniture. Her brother, Anthony (Chazz Irwin) joins her. These two seem at odds immediately over small things, but when joined by their mother (Laura Williams Kline) the source of the tension becomes obvious.
Besides their concern for the weather, they are waiting for Jackie-O’s twin brother Marty (Kyle Clark) to arrive through the storm. Jackie is sure he is coming home to stay for good, but when he doesn’t arrive alone, the tension builds palpably. He has brought his fiancé, Lesly (Kristen Carter) to introduce her to the family, who unfortunately seem less than cordial.
Each of these players bring a strength and even believable incredulity to their characters. The offspring all have their problems – Coleman’s Jackie-O is clearly delusional if not demented; Irwin’s Anthony exudes a sense of disconnect, unsure of his place and searching for a sense of normality; Clark’s Marty seems confident until his warped relationship with his twin resurfaces; Kline’s Mrs. Pascal emerges as haughty, arrogant, even the source of her family’s distress but still vitally concerned for their welfare.
As for Carter’s Lesly, she is obviously way out in left field here with the family both attacking and defending her at every turn. Hers is perhaps the most distressing role and she handles it well.
The set for this show matches the affluence it means to portray. Designer Jesse Glenn has done a super job with the yards of shimmering drapery and the intriguing entrances and exits it provides.
Running without intermission, this is a riveting 89 minutes that will have you laughing and gasping with a lot to discuss when it’s over. Excellent cast, beautiful set, suspenseful and emotionally gripping, we highly recommend it. One word of caution: according to the program, all shows in this Ghost Light Series are intended for mature audiences who enjoy exploring the human condition.
The House of Yes continues at Flint Community Players through June 25. For more information and tickets contact the box office at 810-441-9302 or online at www.flintcommunityplayers.com