Come and pay a visit to The Hothouse this December

The latest production from Bristol-based group Kelvin Players tackles subjects which have perhaps never been more in the public spotlight than they seem to be at present.

With allegations of institutional abuse and mismanagement hitting the headlines almost daily, Harold Pinter’s classic satire, The Hothouse, has never seemed more relevant.

Although not debuted until 1980, it was originally written in 1958 between The Birthday Party and The Caretaker – at the height of his creativity. The 50’s and 60’s were also a time when bureaucratic ineptitude and mismanagement of both staff and patients was an unspoken but daily problem occurrence in many schools, care homes and prisons.

And as the recent prosecutions into the local Winterbourne View case go to show, concerns about institutional abuse and mismanagement are still here and need to be addressed.

Despite the heavy subject matter, Pinter manages to look at things in a typically awkward and outrageously funny manner.

As Director, Mat Rees said: “The play contains all of Pinter’s trademark menace and simmering violence, but it’s all shot through with an outrageous sense of humour, and some brilliantly funny characters. These are people you wouldn’t trust to look after your pets, let alone patients in an institution. Think Dad’s Army meets The League of Gentlemen performing a version of George Orwell’s 1984 and you get somewhere close.

“Although it’s not one of his most famous plays, The Hothouse is a brilliant examination of how far people will go to get what they want and how systems can be abused.”

Set at Christmas in a government-run institution which is run by the hapless director Roote, the play centres on two patients we never see: patient 6457, who has been murdered and patient 6459, who has given birth – but who is responsible for both of these actions? Roote tasks his subordinate, the ambitious Gibbs with uncovering the culprit and mayhem ensues as all sense of reality is lost for the inhabitants.

Inspiration for play came from Pinter’s own experience in the ‘hot seat’. In 1954, desperate for cash, Pinter offered his services to medical science as a human guinea pig, undergoing a series of shock treatments himself. Although medical experiments such as these are no more, as the recent Jimmy Savile investigation and the re-opening of the North Wales children’s home inquiry go to show, the issue of systematic abuse has never gone away.

The Hothouse runs at the Kelvin Studios, Gloucester Road, from Tuesday 4 to Saturday 8December 2012 at 7.30pm. Tickets are £8 on the Tuesday night and £10 on Wednesday through to Saturday.

To book online visit: www.kelvinplayers.co.uk/Current%20Production.html

Alternatively you can call the Kelvin booking line on 0117 959 3636.

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