Felix Cat


The student newspaper of Imperial College London

Menu Icon


Issue 1796 (PDF)
The student newspaper of Imperial College London

Keep the Cat Free

The Hothouse: DramSoc’s Latest Cerebral Play

Perhaps more accurately titled the slaughterhouse, DramSoc’s The Hothouse is a bold and hysterical take on Harold Pinter’s provocative play.

4fcfa950 775b 472a B447 Cfaeff7f83a4 Photo: Daniel Rebollini


in Issue 1796

Dark Comedy

The Hothouse

★ ★ ★ ★ ★
Imperial Union Concert Hall

Perhaps more accurately titled the slaughterhouse, DramSoc’sThe Hothouse is a bold and hysterical take on Harold Pinter’s provocative play.


It’s Christmas day in a mental asylum, but instead of receivingpresents, patients 6457 and 6459 are being reviewed, except that one has died and the other has given birth to a child. It is up to the maniacal Dr Roote (Federico Lucas), to try to figure out how this might’ve happened while his subordinate, Gibbs (Elana Todd-Miller) rushes around trying to mitigate the ensuing chaos. What unfurls is a tragicomedy. The Hothouseis just as hilarious as it is dark and twisted, exploring a tyrannous institution that perpetrates injustice and brutality. At least the naïve and convulsing Benjamin Meacher as Lamb would agree, that is, if he were able to.  


Despite being the cause of the commotion, patients 6457 and 6459 are barely seen on stage. Rather they are heard as veiled cries and wails of despair (kudos to Ayoush Srivastava and Harman Chang for splendid sound design and KacperNeuman and Maximus Wong for brilliant lighting design). The “death” and “birth” in the asylum transform into a dastardly “murder” and “rape” inflicted by a largely blasé authority where majority of the staff meet similar gruesome endings of stabbings, hangings, and on some occasions, both. 

Although there are clues that the patients were in fact political dissidents, The Hothouse makes us wonder – were the higher authorities aware of the atrocities? Will the violence cease with new administration? Is this that far from reality? 


Federico Lucas gives a stellar performance as the director of the institute. From laughing along as he tried to remember patient 6457’s lovely face and left buttock, to his serious and somewhat instigating Christmas speech to the patients. His chaotic chemistry with Lush (Ioana Duta) and Gibbs is potent, however, Gibbs and Cutts’ (Trinity Stenhouse’s) pairing was far less digestible and sometimes awkward.  The scenes were dotted with monologues, some superbly delivered by the practical Gibbs, while others were mumbled and less coherent. 


I am amazed and inspired by the cast and crew who put together such a cogent show amid coursework and exam deadlines and I cannot wait for DramSoc’s next show!

Top Stories