Friday, February 23

Hushabye Mountain – Hope Mill Theatre

This was a theatre trip of many firsts for me, not only had I never heard of Hushabye Mountain (except from watching Chitty Chitty Bang Bang and singing it myself); this was my first Hope Mill performance.  And all I can say is ‘wow’.  I won’t lie, I had read the synopsis and thought that the subject matter might be a little depressing but what these six amazing artists achieve, is something wonderful. Yes, you read that right – just a cast of 6 people who not only acted but seamlessly changed ‘scenery’ whilst already into the next scene and working in costume changes into that scene. I put scenery into inverted commas as there wasn’t any to speak of really, no elaborate drops (except for the Church and the star cloth – and who doesn’t love a star cloth) no big flats to move, just a really tight space which played perfectly for an extremely intimate piece of theatre.. Lighting and sound played their parts extremely well with no hiccups. Cameras were well positioned although there were a couple of instances where you missed someone speak as they were being blocked but it didn’t take anything away from the performances and was only for seconds at a time. Other than that, well done the team involved in this. These were extremely difficult subjects to take on and bring to the stage, and I’m sure will hit home for some of their audience but it was handled brilliantly by all the cast. Tackling AIDS and homosexuality whilst also touching on Mental Health and death can’t be an easy thing to portray and must leave some kind of lasting impression on each member of the cast.  And for this, I really do take my hat off to them.

Although I found it heart-breaking to watch (many tissues used), it was an intense and innovative piece of art that will stay with me for many personal reasons…
If I had one criticism, it would be the use of bad language – I can swear with the best of them, but even I found there was just too many words that were not necessary. I’m not saying they wouldn’t appear in that everyday life situation, I just felt that it was a little excessive at times and there no warning on adverts for an age limit. I know if you read the synopsis, it should give you a hint, it’s not suitable for children, but there should still have been a restriction in my opinion and not everyone reads a synopsis first. Apart from the above, Hushabye Mountain was well written by Jonathan Harvey. Now onto the cast. It would be wrong to single out any member of this cast as they all played their parts perfectly, but it would be very remiss of me not to mention the fabulous Jodie Prenger and her wonderful voice. Treated to just two vocal numbers in this piece both led by Prenger and both were absolutely stunning. I do advise you tune in to watch this stream if you get the chance, but be warned, mascara is not needed but tissues are… I defy anyone not to shed a tear or two…
Well done to all the cast and creatives involved, enjoy the rest of your run and thank you for keeping our Art alive…

Reviewer: Hazel Bumby
Reviewed: 11th June, 2021
North West End UK Rating: