at The Hat Factory, Luton
Reviewed by David Savage
Starring: Carla Langley, Rendah Heywood
Directed by: Rebecca Akinson-Lord
Written by: Joseph Wilde
Running Time: 80 minutes (no interval)
I recently went to see Cuddles presented by Ovalhouse and Arch 468 at The Hat Factory in Luton. Having never been to this venue before I was not sure what to expect. Upon arrival I was greeted by very friendly and helpful staff and as I was a bit early I was shown where I could sit until the doors for the theatre opened. There is also a small bar to get drinks. The theatre itself is a small intimate space taking you up close to the performance.
The play is set in a messy, darkened room with very little furniture and the main piece being a bed.
Eve (Carla Langley) is a 13 year old vampire living in a darkened room in her sister‘s, Tabby (Rendah Heywood), big house which she calls a castle. Tabby takes care of Eve’s every need from feeding, mostly jam sandwiches but does occasionally let Eve drink her blood, to entertaining her. They also love their cuddles from level 1 to level 5.
Tabby is emotionally damaged from a terrible childhood with an abusive father and a mother who ran off, she does daily battle with the Chuggers – monsters who write their victims’ names on clipboards.
Eve has never left her room and everything she knows about the world is from what Tabby has told her and she lives by a set of rules set by Tabby including never trust humans.
Tabby eventually falls in love and wants to change the rules and makes a confession that Eve is not really what she thinks and believes she is, changing both their worlds forever.
Overall, Cuddles is a very well-written play and the 2 actors are superb. While being quite dark it is also hilariously funny with lines like Eve looks like a “hermaphrodite swimming champion”. Both characters are portrayed extremely well; Carla Langley as the young, innocent vampire is definitely someone to watch out for in the future while Rehdah Heywood is amusing and believable as the emotionally disturbed sister and Eve’s keeper.
A very enjoyable and compelling 80 minutes with some hilarious laughs. An unusual but delightful vampire tale. Well worth seeing, highly entertaining.
The Hat Factory is a great venue and I can't wait to see more shows there. For more information on shows at The Hat Factory visit www.thehatfactoy.org