Review: HEARTBREAK HOTEL at Bats Theatre

Created by EBKM and running 18-23 June only.

By: Jun. 20, 2024
Review: HEARTBREAK HOTEL at Bats Theatre
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This show is for anyone who has ever gone through a break up - yes, all of us

Heartbreak Hotel is the latest offering by EBKM, Eleanor Bishop and Karin McCracken who have worked together since 2017 and have written a number of plays, notably Jane Doe and Body Double, both award winning productions.

The play follows the progression through the stages of Heartbreak.

Arriving in the theatre space, we are greeted with a number of LED panels across the sides and back of the stage area.  A keyboard is to the left and a large pink shagpile rug covers the entire stage floor.

We are immediately put at ease as the show starts, with Karin McCracken asking a couple of questions that quickly engage us, getting us to think what state of mind we are in. She then immediately lightened the mood considerably with a question about her outfit.

We are taken through both the scientific and emotional stages of a breakup.  The most hilarious of these was the scene at the bar with a recently single woman on a date, which starts well, but then degenerates as she displays that she is obviously not over her ex, leading to some awkward moments and a quick exit from her date.

This show has comedic moments throughout, but is essentially a serious look at how it feels to go through grief. I felt every emotion throughout the 75 minute running time.  It is one act, one powerful act.

Both the actors, Karin McCracken and Simon Leary, are at the top of their game and their varying roles and emotions feel genuine and effortless. There are various song snippets along the way (hence the keyboard). Karin admitted that she is not a trained singer. You don't need to be to be able to convey feeling and emotion, which she delivered in spades, most notably in the achingly beautiful Mike Reid song "I can't make you love me".

Lighting and sound were outstanding and were an integral part of the performance.

This show sadly has a very short season here in Wellington before they take it overseas to the Edinburgh Fringe festival later this year. They deserve every success both here and in Edinburgh.

I laughed, I was moved, I felt every emotion. This is compelling theatre at its best.


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