Barons Court Theatre (venue)
11 February 2019 (released)
11 February 2019
Ever wondered what it’s like to have a hedgehog growing in your head? Then read on…
The play starts with a Johnny Cash song, ‘The Beast In Me’. Dr. Finch (Sheila McCabe) comes on and takes her surgical gloves off. She is talking to Molly (Natasha Zierhofer), who explains that she has a hedgehog growing in her head!
Dr. Finch explains the predicament Molly is presented with in a wry, comical, and at the same time serious way. The first scene is a master class in comedy timing and here the comedy comes from the absurdist situation, helped along by the facial expressions and body language of Dr. Finch and Molly's obvious horror at her predicament.
Molly is neurotic, as you would be with a hedgehog growing in your head! The next scene depicts Molly and her boyfriend Jason (Oliver Malam). Molly states that it could be worse, she could have cancer! The neurosis builds up in Molly while Stan, Molly's dad (Mike Kelson), does his best to be understanding. They set the table for dinner where Jason, Stan and bizarrely Dr Finch converge. Dr Finch discusses the options available to hilarious effect - who knew clinical comedy was so funny! Molly and Jason go for a walk and Stan and Dr. Finch remain. Cue some absurd and inappropriate flirting! Readers, we have romance! They are interrupted by Molly and Jason. Molly has a fit on the floor. Then there is a surreal scene with Molly and a Welsh philosopher and German ecologist who theorise Molly's situation, She is not impressed with them and their theories! Molly’s situation goes from bad to worse. Jason won't kiss her now because of her prickly tongue and is worried about getting hedgehog STD! He doesn't want to risk having a hedgehog baby. Molly loses her job and tells dad she has split up with Jason. Stan reveals to Molly he is seeing Dr. Finch. Molly explains the conflict of interest and asserts that her future depends on someone her own father is f*****g! Can it get more absurd? The answer is yes – the tension is racked up when Dr. Finch reveals another disastrous turn of events. Molly flees from her reality into the woods, where she calls her boyfriend to explain that the hedgehog babies will soon come. Molly says it's the hedgehog or her boyfriend. Two policemen arrive to get Molly and inject her. We then have Molly in the hospital having urgent surgery. I won’t give away the ending but suffice to say things do not end well for the hedgehog…
The acting works to great effect with many of the small cast playing numerous roles. The staging is minimal and lighting & sound designer Alex Wilmer has created a claustrophobic and tense atmosphere which works well in a compressed staging area. There are no blackouts, which add to the pacing and the absurdity of Tom Jenson’s play (deftly and subtly directed by Simone Vause). The play ends to rapturous applause and rightly so.