14th October 2012 0 By Chris Bridges

There can’t be many people amongst us who aren’t fascinated by the thought of what other people get up to when we’re not looking.

Have you ever looked around a hotel lobby at a disparate collection of people and wondered what their story is? Here’s your chance to find out as Defibrillator are staging three short plays by Tennessee Williams set and performed in hotel rooms in the 5 Star Grange Holborn Hotel.
Tennessee Williams spent much of his later years living in hotels. He even died in one in an ironic twist of fate. It wasn’t the drugs and drink which killed him in the end but the cap from a bottle of eye drops which he choked on in 1983. These three plays contain Williams’ usual mix of characters and situations, which combine the ridiculous, the sinister and the pathetic: the aged actress and the Latin bellhop and his lover who terrorise her, the young honeymooning couple, ripe with brutal sensuality and the aging writer and his rough trade companion.

It’s a slightly unnerving and intense experience but one which works well to convey dramatic tension. The audience is led into a series of hotel suites and arranged around the walls to watch each set unfold. The actors are waiting and the action begins with them arguing, brawling, unpacking cases, drinking and storming in and out of bathrooms, oblivious to the onlookers.
The first piece, “Green Eyes”, shows us a newlywed couple sprawled on the rumpled bed in their undergarments. Matt Milne (War Horse and Downton Abbey) is fierce as the angry young soldier on leave and this feels like the height of voyeurism as the couple shout their erotic fantasies at each other and blur the boundaries between desire and violence. “The Travelling Companion” is comedic yet painful and Laurence Dobiesz oozes malevolent sex appeal as a drug taking pretty boy hustler with a steely resolve. The final piece “Sunburst” is high camp, but with a dark undertone as the handsome young actors kiss and plot malevolently.

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The acting and staging hold together these pieces in a set of plays which, whilst not Williams’ finest works, manage to shock, thrill and amuse in equal measures. Highly recommended. Voyeurism and high culture all in one evening and a chance to look around some swanky hotel rooms? What’s not to like.
The Hotel Plays run at The Grange Holborn Hotel until the 27th of October.