EdFringe 2022 Review: Lottie Platchett Took a Hatchett

“Riotous high camp spectacle”

Lottie Platchett Took a Hatchett presents a riotous high camp spectacle based on a classic piece of American crime history, the case of Lizzie Borden. Written by Justin Elizabeth Sayre and directed by Jessica Hanna, this period comedy delves into forbidden desires, deadly bloodlust and indoor plumbing all whilst delivering a staggeringly high laugh rate.

This pantomime of grotesquery takes us to 1887 where Lottie (Lauren Lopez) is accused of murdering her stepmother and father. Tracing back the moments to the murder, we witness the build-up to the crime: Lottie’s unhealthy attachment to her father (Ryan Garcia), the ill-treatment of Lottie’s effeminate brother Pansy (Tom Lenk), and the brutality of her gruff plumbing obsessed stepmother (Sayre).

Justin Elizabeth Sayre crafts a narrative filled to the rafters with double-entendre, innuendo and the flat out outrageous with no subject particularly out of bounds. The result is a gleefully depraved piece that finds humour in its wonderfully constructed maniacal characters – beautifully channelled by a cast with a rapid-fire sense of comic timing. The humour is rooted in the outrageous – Lottie’s unhealthily attraction to her father is rightly played with an outlandish hilarity, including Sayre’s gruff stepmother dropping hilarious lines about ‘pussy patches’ being left when Lottie is around her father. Lopez’s Lottie brilliantly captures a cinematic winsome quality until drawn by inappropriate allure of her father or infuriated by the jealousy regarding her obnoxious stepmother.

Tom Lenk is on tremendous scene-stealing form as Pansy, Lottie’s defiantly queer young brother. Played utilising a dark costume and small puppet-like-body, Lenk’s Pansy is a delight, delivering lines of smut and outrageous innuendo with an infectious glee. A skit about pigeons transporting vintage dick pics leads to some brilliant prop work, whilst Lenk’s mannerisms and physicality are a masterclass in comedic excellence. Sayre is hugely enjoyable to watch as Lottie’s increasingly gruff and unrelentingly crude stepmother, delivering lines with a deadpan conviction, whilst Tom DeTrinis perfectly syncs with the comic beats in the form of Lottie’s Irish maid. Praise should also go to Ryan W. Garcia who manages to turn the straightest character of the lot, Lottie’s father, into an impressive comic addition – you’re also in for a treat when Garcia removes the surprisingly effective old man make-up. Swoon!

Lottie Platchett Took a Hatchett finds further humour in satirising the outdated misogyny of the American legal system seen in the court’s fixation with Lottie’s ‘monthlies’ as a perfect indication of her willingness to commit murder.

The hit rate of the laughs throughout Sayre’s narrative is magnificently high, especially when paired with Hanna’s impressive comic direction and a cast who fully embrace the high camp nature of the piece, Lottie Platchett Took a Hatchett is a masterclass in comedic theatre.

Lottie Platchett Took a Hatchett plays at the Assembly Roxy until August 27th. Get tickets here.

Lead photo: Arlo Sanders

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