No matter which society you live in, the poor get told “no” and the rich get told “yes”. And in the Wendy Macleod‘s dark comedy House of Yes, the rich get to say yes to every form of immorality known to man. Oh what joy! What evil!
We’re in the home of the wealthy Pascal family. Marty (Carter Hayden), one of the Pascal offspring, arrives with his fiancée Lesley, (Karen Knox) to meet his entire family, namely, his mother Mrs Pascal (Joy Tanner), Marty’s twin and sister Jacqueline (Joanne Kelly), as well as Marty’s younger brother Anthony (Jakob Ehman). Marty’s sister Jacqueline is nick-named Jackie O, after her unwholesome fixation on the former First Lady, Jacqueline Kennedy, later Jacqueline Onassis. Naturally, the play begins during a catastrophic storm, a precursor of what we’re about to see in terms of family politics.
Mrs. Pascal, played with disarming and diabolical charm by Joy Tanner, is a piece of work. She’s tall and beautiful, and breaks forth a smile so gracious, carnivorous, and expansive—if it were viewed on film—it’d require Cinemascope! The mother instantly determines that, Lesley, the girl her son intends to marry, is “not our kind”. It’s hard to know what “kind” the Pascals are. Speaking frankly, this family is so cursed, it’s practically morphed into a new and unholy species.
I won’t say anything about the plot. However, every human taboo is broken. If there was an intermission, I missed it. I was in shock.
Under the direction of Benjamin Blais, House of Yes is a wonderfully delicious, bracing, poisonous cocktail. It’s perfectly risqué, but never vulgar. Blais keeps the pace fast, the wit flying, and the work is pure fun. Some are disappointed that the comedy is more fluff than substance, more clever than deep. But if you want to laugh, this production’s for you. It’s obvious Blais knows how to cast, and he’s picked all the right actors for this wild romp. I especially love Joy Tanner as the elegant, mad mother and Jakob Ehman, as the sex-driven younger brother. They’re absolutely hilarious.
The set and costumes are fabulous. The Pascal home appears as a stately mansion, seen through pharmaceuticals. Claire Hill, who does so many of the Storefront productions, deserves credit, not to mention everyone connected with this production.
Claire Hill, scenographer; Julian Bulof, production manager/technical director; Melissa Joakim, lighting designer; Dan Spurgeon, sound; Lin-Mei Lay, Stage Manager; Ashleigh Powell, Choreographer.
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All photos: John Gundy