Wednesday, 10 October 2012

The Hotel Plays at the Grange Holborn Hotel

Watching The Hotel Plays in three suites at the Grange Holborn Hotel, it is difficult not to picture Tennessee Williams typing in similar rooms, populating scenes with the people that surrounded him: the couple carrying out a muffled argument through the wall, a shifty yet charming bell boy, drunken late-night arrivals, and porters delivering endless room-service orders.

The claustrophobic atmosphere created by packing an audience into a suite, on chairs two deep around the walls, complements the atmosphere of the plays and their succession of insane characters. Williams creates extremes - a damaged soldier drinking bourbon in the morning, an uncomfortable young male escort and panicky, inept crooks amongst them. Being at such close quarters (at one point a character spat some wine and a little landed on my foot, and we had a pretty good look up a young man's boxers) means that you are forced right into the middle of the characters' lives and the conflicts they are facing.

Hotel rooms straddle private and commercial space, blurring what actions might be considered as acceptable. Add to that the infantilising effect of room service - the closest you can get to tugging on a parent's sleeve and asking for some food - and you have a great setting for exploring how people behave when rules are removed.

The Hotel Plays run until the 27th October.

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