"Serious ending undermines charming comedy"
by Matthew Partridge for remotegoat on 28/09/18

There’s an old saying that playwrights, or artists, who want to send a message “should use Western Union”. While the modern equivalent would be a Tweet or a Facebook post, the basic principle is that when political messaging gets in the way of the dramatic logic, the result is unlikely to be pretty. “Hear Me Howl”, written by Lydia Rynne and running at the Old Red Lion, illustrates this point perfectly. It tells the story of Jess, a twenty-nine millennial stuck in a job she hates and with a boyfriend she is only moderately in love with, who unexpectedly discovers that she is pregnant.

Despite the occasional weak spot, Alice Pitt-Carter’s engaging performance means that “Hear Me Howl” draws frequent laughs from the audience and barrels along, for sixty five of its seventy minute running time. Had the play ended at its natural conclusion it would be worth at least three, and possibly four, stars. The problem is that the ending is implausible and goes against the play's theme of a twenty-something learning that sometimes in life you have to put your dreams to one side in favour of others. It is almost as if the writer wasn’t content with writing a funny, engaging comedy and decided that it wasn’t serious enough. This is a pity because she is definitely talented.

Hear Me Howl is directed by Kay Michael and produced by Caley Powell.

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