Review: Hitchcock Blonde
PHOEBE LUCKHURST: ‘dark, voyeuristic and rather unnerving but extremely well acted, directed and produced.’
Hitchcock Blonde, ADC Mainshow, Tuesday 4th May – Saturday 8th May, £6/8
Co-Director – Emma Violet Makinson, Lydia Onyett
In the vein of last’s week’s mix-up during a phonecall to the homestead, in which I mistook my dad for my younger brother, and asked how he was holding up with the ‘Wicked Witch of the West and the village idiot’ – terms that were formerly affectionate nicknames for our parents but are now the reason why my Dad and I aren’t speaking – I thought Alfred Hitchcock was Andy Warhol and was a bit sceptical about why I would want to see a play about Edie Sedgwick. I’ve already seen Factory Girl. I spent two days entertaining the notion that I too might look waif-like and interesting if I cut my hair off and died it peroxide blonde before realising that I wouldn’t.
So turns out Alfred Hitchcock isn’t Andy Warhol. And Hitchcock Blonde, unlike Factory Girl was actually very good. The American accents, unlike Sienna Miller’s were also very good.
Hitchcock Blonde’s focus was split between the voyeuristic relationship between Alfred Hitchcock (Will Seaward) and his bevy of blondes (how many blondes in a bevy? There were two. I think that is a sufficient quota) and the parallel and similarly problematic relationship between Alex (Simon Haines), an academic fixated on Hitchcock, and one of his students, Jennifer (Brittany Willner). Slightly disorientingly, there were three time periods: Hitch and Blonde number one, Hitch and blonde number two, and Alex and Jennifer's story, but for the most part I managed to follow without prodding the person next to me and hissing something vague about being a bit lost.
The characters themselves were archetypal. When a relationship has appeared in Friends (academic wants nubile student – for a while anyway), it has truly traversed the line from storyline to steretoype, but the acting was nuanced. Haines stuttered and bumbled like any archetypal academic should. Robyn Hoedemaker was brilliant, taking a role in which she was simply a ‘type’ (one of Hitch’s ‘blondes’) and making a stand-out performance. She was coquettish and at times fragile, but also capable of strenght when she needed it, especially when bludgeoning husband (Max Levine – who played a monosyllabic brute in the vein of a Stanley Kowalski) with an iron. And Hitch (Will Seaward) was wonderfully eccentric, a commanding ego who refused to leave, even lingering behind a window during the scenes between Jennifer and Alex. This is his narrative, multi-vocal but ultimately all about him.
I could easily see the play itself as a film, which sounds slightly absurd because plot lines are not mutually exclusive – who’s to decide what plot can be categorised as that of a play and what can be categorised as that of a film – but I was much more aware of how I would see the scenes on this particular stage being represented on screen; this generic blurring was possibly a consequence of the beautiful black and white images that flickered on the stage that were a well-conceived visual supplement to the main stage action.
The staging was well-executed (the pool and the shower providing ample opportunities for nudity and partial-nudity) and the recurring and eerie music that tinkled through the sound system followed me home. I don’t know if it’s strange to hum the music from an ADC production about Alfred Hitchcock whom you only just realised wasn’t actually Andy Warhol as you speed through town precariously on the back of a friend’s bike. Perhaps others who saw Hitchcock Blonde might be able to confirm or reject my concerns.
The play is dark, voyeuristic and rather unnerving but extremely well acted, directed and produced; see this.