Hoipolloi, Honestly

Review in Issue 9-2 | Summer 1997

The premise is simple. Paul (played with naive brilliance by Shon DaleJones) moves into an apartment block. On route to his sixth floor room, he encounters various tenants whose help he tries, and fails, to enlist in search of his home. But these new neighbours are seriously deranged and Paul’s nightmare begins. Watching Honestly is a little like having one of those anxiety dreams in which you have a plane to catch and every possible obstacle gets in your way to prevent you making the flight. In this apartment block, up is down and everything is confused.

This slight structure is the perfect vehicle for Hoipolloi to demonstrate their talent for conjuring bizarre comic characterisations. Steffie Muller is superb as a raving beauty with a shoe fetish, an elderly hunchbacked concierge with a cleanliness obsession and, best of all, an enigmatic German dowager who waltzes across the stage tossing her auburn mane in elegant but faded glory. She brings to each role a precise physicality and lightness of touch. Jason Turner and Gaitan Schmid also play a variety of parts which showcase a similar talent for comic characterisation. The mood throughout is surreal and the show moves with a swift pace which seamlessly weaves each disparate scene into the next.

Honestly is cinematic in vision, in a sumptuously European way. Hoipolloi are extraordinarily skilled at creating complex stage pictures out of very few props. But most of all, they know how to use their talents to entertain, with narrative storytelling techniques which are at once wonderfully sophisticated and deceptively simple.

Presenting Artists
Presenting Venue
Date Seen
  1. Mar 1997

This article in the magazine

Issue 9-2
p. 25