REVIEW: Hear Me Howl (VAULT Festival)

This charming call-to-arms monologue features not enough drums and too many millennial buzzwords.

Hear Me Howl, written by Lydia Ryme, sees 29-year-old Jess with a potentially unwanted pregnancy, a desire to be free from her office job, and a spark of life as she spontaneously becomes a drummer in a post-punk band.

There’s plenty to enjoy about Lights Down’s production. Alice Pitt-Carver’s performance is charming, commanding the stage and drawing us in to her dilemma. There are quips and remarks a-plenty and there’s a lot of laughs packed into what could be a more serious piece, if it was angled that way.

Hear Me Howl VAULT Festival
Photo by Will Lepper

From reading about the show I presumed there would be a lot more drumming involved, much like How to Keep Time which I saw at Summerhall last year. A monologue interspersed with drumming, maybe, especially by the ear plugs given to each audience member (props to the production team for this). Instead, there’s one drum solo at the end and a few moments of the drum underscoring speech throughout. This underscoring could have been utilised more frequently throughout, to give it that punky feel the entrance music (‘Rebel Girl’, ‘Make America Great Again’) promises.

The play touches upon a huge array of topics affecting Western society today: the career/motherhood dilemma, office lifestyle, environment, female body hair, gender fluidity, etc etc. Though these issues are important in their own right and contribute to the larger confusion Jess is feeling, each time another is brought into the mix it begins to feel a little buzzword-heavy. Perhaps more focus on the initial issue would have enabled this piece to flow better.

Hear Me Howl is the seed of what could be a feisty production, with a bit of fine tuning and a little more drumming.

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