Hillary’s Kitchen

Emily McDermott
The Cambridge Road Players
theSpace @ Surgeons Hall
to

Hillary Clinton has been doing some serious post-election drinking when strangers start arriving in her kitchen. She is initially startled and a little bewildered but soon settles round the table with these real and fictional historical women.

The show is framed as a late night kitchen conversation, interspersed with separate comedic sketches with a feminist tilt.

Helen Percival as Hillary is an impressive character actor whose facial and vocal expressions always hold our attention.

Yet what she says is rarely interesting or surprising. There is some self pity. “I gave so much and they elected a half-wit.”

One of her “guests”, Pam with a Northern accent, says that “Trump is a kind of feminist who grabs life by the pussy.”

As for partners, Eve says Adam is “a twat,” and Frida Kahlo says that “Diego was a communist who shared his penis equally.”

Hillary dodges any serious look at Bill’s antics with her defence that by staying with him she was doing the really strong thing. And that is about as near as she comes to talking about anything beyond Hillary.

Surprisingly for a show headlining a political figure who helped shape the world, the discussions round the table are unfocused, apolitical and not about the world.

One of the sketches conjures up a Trump Clinton Television debate. The other sketches show the influence of #MeToo but have no connection to Hillary.

There is a works trip in which rowdy men try to get women to take their tops off and a Disney job centre where fairy tale Princes find they no longer have much use, for instance it is said that it is just not on for a sleeping beauty to be kissed by a man without consent.

The election debate had Elliot Burrows conjuring up humorously the narcissistic manner, voice and idiocy of Trump with Haylee Pasche as a defensive Hillary, till with stunning delivery she recites Maya Angelou’s poem “Phenomenal Woman” which prompted the first instant applause from the audience.

Before then, a few people laughed but many others might have been puzzled by the baggy, unfocused strangeness of this all-sorts feminist variety performance.

The acting is fine and good ideas are sprinkled around the show. If only the script had more substance and purpose to the shape that emerged.

Keith Mckenna