Hear me Howl is presented by writer Lydia Rynne (Soho Theatre, NFTS Odeon Scholar, and Funny Girl’s Finalist), director Kay Michael (JMK Directors Award and Old Vic 12 Finalist), musical consultant Fay Milton of the band Savages, and performed by Mountview trained Alice Pitt-Carter. These women working collectively is a tantalising creative group, and the combination of their huge talents makes for an enthralling, funny and touching evening.
We spend our evening hearing Jess’ story, a captivating monologue, interspersed with primal drumming and a cymbal soundtrack. She plays herself centre stage, essentially examining the impact of potential impending motherhood, and the emotional battle this ‘almost 30’ year old finds herself faced with.
“Thought provoking, real and brilliantly performed.”
There are certain expectations in many circles about how personally settled down, and professionally successful a woman should be at this age, but when faced with a future stretching out just like this – a husband, a baby, and 9-5 job – Jess tells a story likely to be familiar to many. Is this what she wants? Has she ‘lived’ enough to be tied to such traditional responsibility, and will this satisfy her in the future? Finding the advert that new punk friends ‘Fish Cake’ and ‘Whale Cake’ have sent out, asking for a drummer to join their band changes Jess’ outlook and life path change forever. She’s never played the drums before. They ‘couldn’t give less of a shit’. She’s never been on a protest before, or played a gig before, but suddenly she is swept up in all these things, her life taking a turn which opens possibilities and anger and worlds of people with attitudes which she had never previously been any part of.
The play is laugh-out-loud funny throughout. There are brilliantly written, hilarious lines, which Alice delivers with perfect comic timing, and the intimacy of the venue means we are often locked in eye contact, only adding to our closeness to her and her unfolding story. I particularly loved her describing her first foray into ‘post-punk’, hearing The Fall and The Clash, and then Bikini Kill, The Slits and Patti Smith. Her excitement on this journey of discovery is palpable.
There are equally as many poignant moments, particularly where Jess expresses her relief and gratitude that she is free and able to make the decision for herself about whether or not to continue with her pregnancy, while so many women are not, and though the suggestions from friends that she is in a lucky position – a decent partner, a job and a baby on the way – come pouring in from the minute she tells anyone, she is left with a choice and she is thankful for that. As we are caught up in her final, more confident decision-making, things fall into place and the piece escalates in her powerful drumbeat.
Thought provoking, real and brilliantly performed. It’s a piece for now, and one which will resonate with so many women. I highly recommend it.
Hear Me Howl is performing in Cavern until 3rd February at the Vault Festival. Tickets can be purchased here.
Image: Will Lepper