All Through The House is full of laughs and very unexpected situations. It’s hard to believe that this fast-paced farce is writer Judith King’s first full-length play. (She talked about the process of writing in an interview recorded last month.) And it's unlikely to be the last time we see new work from this playwright on stage.
Straight-laced Carol (played by Mary Jordan) acts a world-renowned TV series Reign of Blood. When she’s not away filming in Poland she’s at home in the house she shares with her daughter. Ruth (Victoria Armstrong) is neurotic, with more than a shade of OCD.
“You come first, not petty squabbles or old rows”
“If the three of us can bury the hatchet, there’s no reason why you two can’t”
Later on another actor from the show Wolfe (Shaun Blaney) arrives out of the blue, more brawn that brains, and every woman in the house – eligible or not – throws herself at him.
Everyone is on edge. Actors fear for their characters’ longevity. Business success eludes Arthur. Ruth has made a big mistake in work. Carol’s traditional dinner menu must not be ruined by Wendy’s “hat nibbles”. And there’s a whiff of unresolved love in the air.
Strong performances across the ensemble cast create a fabulous scene of Christmas anguish. In particular, Victoria Armstrong’s portrayal of Ruth sets her out as the most likely heroine right from her earliest sleepwalking escapade in #Elfie pyjamas as the audience come to appreciate that she’s by no means the most mixed up adult in the house.
Tinderbox’s All Through the House is surely the Christmas show not to be missed this season. You’ll laugh out loud for a couple of hours, while your chest tightens with the stress of the on-stage shenanigans. It’ll certainly put most Christmas catastrophes in your house into perspective! With strong language throughout, it’s suitable for 14 years and above. All Through The House runs in the Crescent Arts Centre until 19 December. Tickets £14 (£10 concession).
Production photos by Neil Harrison.