July 7, 2022

Wolf Cub at Hampstead Theatre | Theatre assessment

Set in the course of the turbulent 80s and early 90s within the USA, Wolf Cub is an bold play that makes an attempt to deal with many historic points from the angle of a poor southern lady, Maxine (Clare Latham). The one-hander thereby weaves a tapestry of present occasions on the time, whether or not she is instantly concerned or not. With some astonishing appearing by Latham, and a few emotional highlights, it’s definitely pleasurable, however spreading itself a bit too skinny means among the subjects solely obtain superficial protection.

Rising up with an abusive father, intelligent, witty and attentive Maxine grows as much as be a moderately disturbed grownup who’s put by way of the mill at each stage of her life, leading to her being concerned in every little thing from drug dealing to the Contras, and eventually within the 1992 Los Angeles Race riots as a result of Rodney King incident. Sure, it’s a bit far-fetched, however the narrative is commonly tongue-in-cheek in a method that it may be forgiven; what holds the assorted threads collectively is the leitmotiv of a wolf cub, a spirit animal that helps her alongside the way in which as she envisions remodeling right into a wolf herself at varied emotionally vital moments of her life.

Author and director Ché Walker’s manufacturing is made pleasurable by an nearly legendary forest-like setting and refined sound design by Sheila Atim that at all times conjures the proper temper on the proper second. It’s all performed very effectively, and Bethany Gupwell’s lighting design coupled with the legendary fog from the forest works wonders to shine an eerie mild on Maxine’s unlikely growth. It’s nearly like she’s a spirit who has returned to hang-out a 2022 viewers with the occasions of the previous.

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At a runtime of merely 80 minutes, Wolf Cub definitely treads a variety of floor and one should admire the ambition. It’s only a pity that it’s too quick to do the big topic issues justice, thereby demanding some extra time for reflection and consideration. Inside this limitation, nonetheless, it nonetheless stays a extremely participating play; the emotional moments do really feel real and deserved, and as such, it’s definitely effectively value a watch.

Michael Higgs
Photographs: Robert Day

Wolf Cub is at Hampstead Theatre from 8th April till 7th Could 2022. For additional info or to e book go to the theatre’s web site right here.