Did you know that ‘The Worm That Turned’ was set in 2012?
Don’t worry if you haven’t heard of it. It was a 1980 series within a series on British sketch show ‘The Two Ronnies’ in which women have taken over Britain, reversing gender roles, although the guards (led by silver screen legend Diana Dors) are still clearly wearing alluring boots and hot pants with male viewers in mind.
Fast-forward 40 years and Down the Rabbit Hole are staging a new take on a Harold Pinter satirical play ‘Party Time’, which is more than a little reminiscent of ‘The Two Ronnies’ effort.
The male leaders of a totalitarian state in Pinter’s original are perhaps a little influenced by the government of Gilead in Margaret Atwood’s 1985 novel ‘The Handmaid’s Tale’.
And given that there’s only so much public hanging, ritualised rape and finger amputation we can take, it’s probably a good decision to flip the leaders’ genders in ‘Party Time’ – to lend its tired script a few modern nuances in light of the #MeToo and #TimesUp movements.
Beyond the gender issues, there are other themes at play, such as the narcissistic attitude of a bourgeois society cut off from the growing squalour of the outside world, which is all too prevalent in countries of vast inequality such as Trump’s America and Brexit-ravaged Britain.
The decision means that director Michael Wighton is taking charge (if they’ll let him) of an all-female cast, including seasoned actors Tove Simonsen and Audrey Cremoux, who have been joined by three students from Københavns Film & Teaterskole, with which Rabbit Hole is developing a fruitful collaboration, of whom one is Seren Oroszvary, who played Nina in ‘Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike’ last spring.