Theatre Review: HUSH HUSH – The Lowry, Salford

HUSH HUSH at The Lowry Artwork

The Lowry played host to its final HUSH HUSH performance of the autumn season as a packed house of curious cats took their seats in the Aldridge Studio.

Billed as a “secret performance”, HUSH HUSH forms part of The Lowry’s Pay What You Decide (PWYD) season. Instead of paying for a ticket in advance, audiences are asked to pay what they think the show is worth at the end of the performance. The innovative concept removes the risk for those who want to try something new but are worried they’ll end up paying for a theatre show they may not enjoy.

The 50 minute show opened with two lost travellers checking in at The Hotel Après Vie, a luxurious hotel that caters for the ‘alternative afterlife’. As their receptionist alter-egos, GoodBear’s Henry Perryment and Joe Barnes, introduce us to the hotel guests through a series of short comedic sketches.

From the gossipy old dears who are so secure in their shared opinions that they emphatically finish their sentences together, to the Mrs Robinson pastiche which grows all the more overt as she attempts to seduce the naïve bellboy, Perryment and Barnes are certainly pros in sketch comedy. Performed without props or a set, the duo simply rely on a change of voice and physical form to deliver the show, as each sketch builds quickly to the punchline before tumbling straight into the next.

A piece in which two yoga teachers attempt to find their spirit animal stands out for its hilarious physical comedy as does a sketch in which a sibilant monster lurking in the bowels of the building welcomes his long-lost brother to the afterlife.

Eagled eye film fans will also recognise an IT’S A WONDERFUL LIFE pastiche as a strangulated Jimmy Stewart character pleads with his pregnant wife and a nod to THE SHINING as an Irish barman lends his attentive ear to a hard-bitten father who searches for his daughter.

But like THE SHINING, there is something much more sinister going on here. A Matrix-style glitch in Perryment’s welcoming patter soon hints at the real cost of residing at the hotel and what initially seems cuddly and cutesy invariably turns into the nightmarish.

If you like your comedy daft, daring and a little dark, you’re sure to enjoy GoodBear. A top notch hour of entertainment well worthy of parting with your cash.

4 out of 5 stars

HUSH HUSH was performed at The Lowry on 17 November 2017.