Review: HATCH Holiday Special

Margaux Emmanuel 21 December 2020
Image credit: Camdram

In a similar vein with the FiztTheatre’s Christmas Party, The Marlowe Society presents The HATCH Holiday Special, a compilation of eight radio plays with the overarching storyline of Christmas, all original works ranging from the heartwarming and amusing ‘Welcome to my Parents’ to the spine-chilling ‘The Winter Lamb’, or the intriguing and thought-provoking ‘Aligned’. This new writing is a breath of fresh air in these times, still available on YouTube, captivatingly sound-edited and well voice-acted.

The lighthearted ‘Welcome to My Parents’, written by Claudia Vyvyan and directed by Jack Ward perfectly encapsulated the mixed emotions of family awkwardness, portraying the typical ‘conservative’ family faced with the coming out of their daughter, Tabitha, voice-acted by Ella Palmer. Nevertheless, underneath the veil of light-heartedness, this audio-play spoke of the chaos of heteronormative expectations within families, and the stressful environment it can create. Christian Longstaff’s portrayal of the father was also particularly amusing and believable. All in all, this short audio-play finished on an uplifting, and touching note.

Sophie Brawn’s ‘Secret Santa’, directed by Saul Bailey, presents a ‘Secret Santa’ gone wrong, its original jovial and exciting aspect being completely derailed, only to reveal latent grudges and deep secrets. Jack Ward, Estera Ulrich-Oltean, Dominika Wiatrowska, Jasmine Ventham, Owen Igiehon and Oliver Udy’s voice-acting truly managed to emphasize the dramatic consequences of this present-exchange.

The idea of Joseph and Jesus as a modern family was original, and teenager-Jesus, sick of the desert and of playing of the dreidel, longing for snowy lands, made me laugh.

‘Why Jesus Hated Celebrating Hanukkah’, written by Ido Rosen, and directed and edited by Jenny Hay had to be one of the highlights of this HATCH Holiday Special: original, entertaining and written with true comedic intelligence. Yael Rimon’s voice-acting as Mary was on-point, the discordance between our usual depiction of the Virgin Mary and her acting creating a truly amusing contrast. The idea of Joseph and Jesus as a modern family was original, and teenager-Jesus, sick of the desert and of playing of the dreidel, longing for snowy lands, made me laugh.

In contrast, ‘Aligned’, written and directed by Ffion Godwin, was on a more serious note, an intriguing and moving audio-play where the father of a runaway daughter, Mr. Fielding played by Jago Wainwright, and a girl who has run away from her family, voice-acted by Clare Walsh, somehow meet by phone – despite being from different time periods. This audio-play, which centers around ideas of growing older and ‘going back’ to our families, makes you think about the true meaning of ‘home’.

If you like a bit of a scare, ‘The Winter Lamb’, written and directed by Rebekah King, was spine-chilling exceptionally well sound-edited, conveying a certain visuality to this audio-play; Martin Luis Almonacid and Annie Tilly Palmer’s voice-acting was truly mesmerizing. I also enjoyed Jonathan Powell’s quirky ‘Moving Houses’ which was likewiseaccompanied with enjoyable illustrations.

The HATCH Holiday Special has something for everyone’s taste, whether it be merry, thought-provoking, mysterious or hilarious. All in all, this show, edited by Jasper Cresdee-Hyde, was an all-round success: well-written, well voice-acted and altogether entertaining, making us look forward to what the next HATCH has in store for us.

5 stars