Joy shares her thoughts on getting old, trying to figure out her relationship with her strange sister and making sense of her nephew’s home school project.
Should you see it?
Madeleine Boyes-Manseau plays Joy, a confused young woman working as a nurse at a hospital where old people come to die. She seems to feel alone in her thoughts of death and love and wants nothing but to find a closeness to someone who will ‘get’ her. Let’s be honest, isn’t that essentially what we’re all looking for?
Boyes-Manseau gives a moving performance that makes you want to relate to Joy and help her in whatever way you can. She engages with the audience throughout the whole show, really pulling the members into her story. She does a great job of making you feel like you’re really listening to Joy, and not attending a show. There were some very good moments that had people in stitches, a few that had them concerned and even some that made you feel sad and sorry.
Though not a story that has a beginning, middle and end, To Hell In A Hand Basket is a journey one takes with Boyes-Manseau, into the mind of a lonely, scared and sad individual that only wants to find love, experience love and understand it.
Still puzzling through my feelings on To Hell in a Handbasket (which is a good thing). A woman, a nurse, Joy, is having an existential crisis about her ability to love. The beauty of this show starts in that contrast – a nurse, the kind of person who you’d generally consider as loving, is anything but.
As audience, you’re part of the show as part of her experience. It’s direct address to you – as people who know her as only you could – as she questions and talks and thinks aloud about the goings on of her past and present and current mental state – defined by one of the audience members today as “nuts.”
This makes for an intimate experience, coupled by a very raw and real feeling performance by Madeleine Boyes-Manseau. There’s stark edginess in the work, directed by Brad Long.
Yet I’m not sure I “got” it. I got some of it, I got a lot from it, but I’m not afraid to admit that I can’t help feeling I didn’t get all of it. I know where the character was coming from, I felt I knew what she wanted, but I’m not sure where she was going or where she ended up. I’m not sure I know what the point was. Maybe it was something in the script, maybe it’s just me, or maybe that’s the point.
What did you think of To Hell In A Hand Basket? Did it drum up any of your thoughts on love and dying? Did you walk away feeling you knew someone who “gets” you the way Joy seems to want and need? Let me know in the comments below!
For more information about To Hell In A Hand Basket, including show times and how to buy advance tickets, check out the show page on http://ottawafringe.com/tickets/to-hell-in-a-handbasket/