Reviews

REVIEWS FOR HOTEL CONFESSIONS

Kate Kellaway in The Observer, Sunday 10 April 2011:

‘Serendipitously, last week’s theatre was dominated by strange encounters in hotels. The Bermondsey Square hotel is characterlessly trendy – it has the atmosphere of a building that does not quite know what it is doing. Anouke Brook, in association with Southwark Playhouse, has persuaded management to let her direct two half-hour plays – Hotel Confessions – to audiences of 10 in room 509. As we wait, a hectic man walks into reception, his cheap suitcase sprinkled with snow. Before long, we follow him in the lift up to his room on the fifth floor, where he will find a sleeping stranger in one of the beds. What follows is a powerful, subtle and engrossing reworking of Siegfried Lenz’s short story “The Night in the Hotel”. This is followed by Nessah Aisha Muthy’s beautifully written companion piece “Freya and Mr Mushroom”, about a travelling salesman and a little girl. Both pieces are about trust, strangeness and the nature of theatre itself – in which one may move from the unknown to intimacy at speed. A memorable evening – great fun too.’

Kate Bassett in The Independent on Sunday, Sunday 10 April 2011:

“How do I know you’re not evil?” asks the young girl dancing around a strange man’s bed in Freya & Mr Mushroom. She has impishly materialised out of nowhere, to his consternation. Nessah Aisha Muthy’s new play is one half of a quirky, site-specific double bill – entitled Hotel Confessions – performed in a twin room in an actual hotel near London Bridge (in association with Southwark Playhouse). Punters squeeze in to snoop, 10 at a time. Mark Carlisle has some splendidly creepy moments, as the potentially predatory Mr Mushroom, and as the ghoulish businessman in The Night in the Hotel (adapted by director Anouke Brook from Siegfried Lenz’s short story) – snoring under the covers one minute, then suddenly bolt upright, complete with bowler hat and icy stare… Adventurous.’

Sam Marlowe in The Times, Monday 11 April 2011:

‘As you enter this chic hotel a smart, slightly tense receptionist and a smiling porter greet you. A man in a black coat and hat comes in, looking for a room for the night… The last two arrivals are actual hotel guests; the receptionist, the porter and the man in black are actors from the Building Site Theatre Company, presenting a double bill of intimate, site-responsive new plays. The interaction between the performance and the continuing flow of reality that surrounds it creates a delicious frisson of tension. And a hotel makes an eloquent location: the sense of lives passing through, of intersecting journeys, the impersonal numbered doors that line the corridors, behind which sleepers dream while the wakeful get up to who knows what. Anouke Brook’s production allows audiences of ten to eavesdrop on two encounters in room 509. It’s richly atmospheric. Both these pieces share a creepy preoccupation with the violation of privacy and off-kilter adult-child relationships. A soundtrack of hotel noises — nocturnal rumblings and gurglings — adds to the unease… the experience is effective.’

Miriam Gillinson in Time Out, Thursday 14 April 2011:

‘Look in any cave or railway tunnel and you’ll probably find some site-specific theatre.  But while these shows are atmospheric, the link between play and location is often spurious. This isn’t so with The Building Site’s immersive Hotel Confessions…It is intensely unsettling, watching two strangers gruffly confess in the dark…Nessah Aisha Muthy’s Freya & Mr. Mushroom is contemporary…this eerie play has ‘Lolita’ overtones, as a guest (Mark Carlisle – compelling) and young girl talk and tease.’

Hazel Tzoi in The Londonist, Thursday 7 April 2011:

‘Intriguing… I would NEVER consider sharing a room with a stranger after seeing this… Elusive and enigmatic… Brilliantly sinister…I would highly recommend Hotel Confessions to anyone looking for a theatre experience with a difference, and for anyone curious to see inside an excellent London hotel. The quality of the writing, acting and direction surpasses the gimmick of being staged in a real hotel room, but is obviously helped by the setting. Book now for a ticket, I hope you enjoy your stay as much as I did.’