Review: HEARTBREAK HOTEL at Q Theatre

What did our critic think of HEARTBREAK HOTEL at Q Theatre?

By: Nov. 28, 2023
Review: HEARTBREAK HOTEL at Q Theatre

Reviewed by Katie and Richard Pidgeon
Heartbreak Hotel – 
Q Theatre, Auckland
28th November – 2nd December

Where would you find the cure for heartbreak? In a sad song, a mother’s wisdom, a friend’s advice, biological understanding, or the advice of a stranger in a pub.

Director Eleanor Bishop, one half of the creative partnership with Karin McCraken (EBKM), has the play’s nameless woman search for the answer in all these places. Does she find what she’s looking for? That’d be telling; you’ll have to watch this quirky play to find out. I guarantee you won’t regret it.

The minimalist set is made up of a synth, clever light display and shag-pile magenta carpet, and all three are utilised to propel the storylines. There are a number of threads of narrative, representative of the different stages of heartbreak, which are drawn together by the end of
the play. Common themes guide the play’s progress. These include the classic heartbreak songs of Heartbreak Hotel, Nothing Compares to You, I Can’t Make You Love Me, and Dreams, as well as a mother’s wise advice, and the science of heartbreak.

Despite her self-effacement regarding her singing, Karin McCraken’s soulfully sung and
spoken word odes were haunting in the best possible way.

Heartbreak is singing your favourite song over and over but never getting to sing the chorus which is exactly how McCracken approached her songs. McCracken’s laconic delivery was a feature that entertained in the fashion of a stand-up comedian.

To get over heartbreak we need to try new things; McCracken embraces this with her rhinestone tasseled suit and synth playing habits. She nails it.

The various characters Simon Leary played offset McCracken’s character in an understated yet strong performance. Leary’s versatility is paramount as he plays roles as varied as a doctor, accountant, gay bestie, lesbian date, tinder date, supermarket clerk, and hard-to-get-over ex-boyfriend. His dance moves were eclectic, and his arguing style was authentic. The performances of the duo built the play layer upon layer and led to a thought-provoking conclusion.
Aucklanders are encouraged to get out and purchase tickets for the show's short run till 2nd December at Q Theatre.

This is a show for a thinking person who wants to be entertained.
You could take your mother, best friend, sibling, or partner, but just don’t have a relationship spat before going.

Book tickets here