Theatre Review: The Prince of Pig Alley.
The Prince of Pig Alley
Demasquer Theatre | written and directed by Bethany Lake
The Prince of Pig Alley is set in a whore-house separated off from the world of consequence. A rich teenage girl, Odette (Maggie Hammel), tries out prostituting like a new lipstick and her nervous tutor, Prudent (Jeffery Reid O’Hara), falls into assistant managing Madame Josette’s whore house. The girls, Odette, Helene and Anais, are light, fun and seriously exempt from expectations and norms.
The style is quick to call itself absurd. A most memorable scene plays out the sexual fantasies of an old German patron of the whore-house: Viktor (David Hopper). In a superb performance, Hopper, roams around the stage as a bear and plays with Snow White and Red Rose. Refreshing, as sexual fantasies go.
Reality descends in a massive wave, and the characters are pushed to chose between holding on to this fantastical exemption or returning to old comforts. Despite the exactness of the friction, the characters fail to be challenging. Their decisions are predictable and break down the potential built up by the premise.
The Prince of Pig Alley displays the care Lake took in details, yet overlooking practicalities of time and consequence. Time is irregular and passes in jolts, but it is hard to tell whether this is due to the writing or part of the style.
The well-crafted scenes superseded the plain push of plot, but the play is imperfect. Bethany Lake’s direction was impeccable, as evidenced by the strong cast’s superb performance, but the script itself rattles when shaken.