The House of Yes Review - The Best Incest Comedy of The Year

The House of Yes: Jessica Maynard, Jason Dabrowski, Patti Feinstein, Charlie Rasmann, and Patricia Moy

I was thoroughly unprepared for The House of Yes.  Although first written by Wendy MacLeod as a play and then later adapted as a critically acclaimed and modestly successful movie in the late ‘90s, I knew little of the plot or the subject matter.  This was definitely for the best as it allowed me to be appropriately shocked by this very dark comedy.  In brief, the plot is this; Marty (Charlie Rasmann) returns to his family on Thanksgiving with his new fiancée Leslie (Patricia Moy) much to the jealous chagrin of his twin sister, Jackie-O (Jessica Maynard).  The matriarch of the family, Mrs. Pascal (Patti Feinstein), is a boozy, old money type and the younger brother, Anthony (Jason Dabrowski), is a bit dense.  Midway through the play it is only Anthony who is shocked to learn that Marty and Jackie-O have been intimate.  And by intimate I mean they used to have sex.  Oh, and Marty and Jackie-O have this fetish for the Kennedy assassination.

If this does not sound like your cup of tea, let me play up some of the positives.  The written script is a work of art that delivers classic lines at almost every turn (although I am not sure if I will be able to ever use my favorite line “She was born holding his penis in her hand.”)  Also director Jacob Christopher Green (who also serves as set and costume designer) does a good job of story telling and shows some real creativity in his use of lighting in order to allow the audience to move from scene to scene in real time.  For most of the play, I found the story intriguing and hard to look away from.

Charlie Rasmann (Marty) and Jessica Maynard (Jackie-O)

 

Unfortunately the acting as a whole was inconsistent and at times a real let down.  As Jackie-O, Jessica Maynard was able to put just the right amount of crazy into her role.  Patti Feinstein and Charlie Rasmann were also more than competent in their performances.  However, other performances appeared less believable.  Jason Dabrowski seemed especially miscast as the dopey younger brother and Patricia Moy (Leslie) often looked uncomfortable on stage.  Critical scenes involving only those two actors felt like lost opportunities to me and did much to distract from what was otherwise a solid play. 

Patricia Moy (Leslie) with Jessica Maynard and Charlie Rasmann

 

Considering the subject matter (incest played for some dark laughs), everything has to click in order for the play to work.  On the night of my review, I would say The House of Yes mostly worked but misfired in spots.  Also, although the play was definitely memorable, it just did not bring enough to the table to warrant serious discussion afterwards.  Instead I left the theater with an icky feeling and little desire to ever return to that incestuous house. 

Bottom lineThe House of Yes is only somewhat recommended.  I loved the sharp writing but felt the acting as a whole was uneven and detracted from the play.  If you choose to see the play, consider parking at Children’s Memorial Hospital ($6 with ticket stub).  For more information or to order tickets for the play, click here:  http://greenhousetheater.org/

Photos provided by Hubris Productions

 

 

 

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