Skip to main content Skip to footer site map
Review: HOUSE OF JOY at Loretto-Hilton Center For The Performing Arts

Review: HOUSE OF JOY at Loretto-Hilton Center For The Performing Arts

House of Joy Is A Dazzling Opener for The Rep

The Rep's 56th season begins with Madhuri Shekar's genre-bending House of Joy. Equal parts drama, fantasy, combat epic, and dystopian sci-fi, the play is not easy to pin down.

Filled with strong characters, thrilling fight scenes, tender moments of happiness, and wrenching moments of sorrow, it tells the tale of a bedazzling utopia, whose opulence masks a world of manipulation and guile.

Set in a harem in India, this fast-paced production opens with Roshni, a girl from the rougher part of the kingdom being recruited as a special guard for the emperor's harem. It is a prestigious opportunity that simply cannot pass up.

While spending grueling days training and dull evenings standing watch, she befriends Hamida, another guard looking to make her mark. Their friendship grows and eventually leads her to fill Roshni in on the fate of her predecessor.

As Roshni spends more time as a guard, she realizes that the empire's façade as a peaceful realm is more of a prison than paradise. For starters, the walls of the House of Joy present a confined space for that inside. As a result, only those in power enjoy personal freedom.

Featuring an Emperor that is never seen and an estate that is literally shaped by those who live within it, the House of Joy is filed with some serious plotting. Especially the scheming Noorah, the Emperor's daughter whose designs on power threaten the stability of the land. Unrelenting to quench her thirst for power her behind-the-scenes maneuvering postures her to seize control in a violent coup.

If political skullduggery was not enough, Roshni has to contend with her attraction toMariyam, the Emperor's wife. Waiting to give birth to an heir, her fate hangs in the balance as her husband eagerly awaits the arrival of a son. As the political tension rises, Roshni, Mariyam, and Hamida face tough decisions that determine both their fates and the very freedom of the empire.

Directed by Lavina Jadhwani with stunning projections from Stefania Bulbarella, House of Joy presents a contemporary depiction of women as a force for change who speak the truth to power and remain unbridled by conventional tropes or stereotypes. The women here, fight, protect, scheme, give birth, and lust with unrelenting vigor, providing audiences with doses of action and intrigue.

The terrific ensemble is driven by a powerful debut performance from Tina Munoz Pandya as Roshni. Authoritative and vulnerable, she is electrifying as a woman coming to rems with herself and the world around her. Also terrific is Omer Abbas Salem as Salima, a clever eunuch who is acutely aware of everything happening with the walls of the House of Joy.

Visually stunning and brimming with romance, The Repertory Theatre of St. Louis' House of Joy is a compelling production that pulls no punches in emphasizing the dangers of authoritarianism and the power of love in tempestuous times.

For more information on House of Joy visit www.repstl.org



JERRYS GIRLS: THE JERRY HERMAN REVUE To Run At Js Wool Studio Theatre Through December 18 Photo
The New Jewish Theatre continues its season with Jerry's Girls, a Jerry Herman musical revue from December 1 – December 18.

Max & Louie Presents WHAT THE CONSTITUTION MEANS TO ME, April 6-23 Photo
Playwright Heidi Schreck's highly impactful and timely memoir, What the Constitution Means to Me, winner of Best American play, and finalist for the Pulitzer Prize, opens Max & Louie Productions upcoming 2023 theatrical season, running at The Marcelle Theatre, April 6-23rd in Saint Louis, Missouri.

Magic Smoking Monkey Theatre Presents ITS A MARVELOUS LIFE! Photo
St. Louis' favorite - and only - parody theatre company, MAGIC SMOKING MONKEY THEATRE presents IT'S A MARVELOUS LIFE! December 2 - 10, 222 at the Robert G. Reim Theatre in Kirkwood Park.

Circus Harmony At City Museum Announces Lineup of Holiday Happenings Photo
Circus Harmony, the circus school located at City Museum in downtown St. Louis, can take care of your holidays in one fell swoop! They are offering a number of ways to enjoy the holidays and make gift giving easy. Most of the options are one size fits most and no pieces to lose!


From This Author - Rob Levy

Rob Levy is a St. Louis based writer, blogger, DJ and podcaster with extensive experience writing about theatre, opera, health, science, tech and popular culture for St. Louis Magazine, ALIVE ... (read more about this author)


Review: PRIVATE LIVES at Catherine B. Berges Theatre At COCAReview: PRIVATE LIVES at Catherine B. Berges Theatre At COCA
October 13, 2022

The Rep’s superb production of Noël Coward's Private Lives is directed by Meredith McDonough. This emotionally raw drama pulls no punches in depicting the intense passion and constant divisiveness that haunts Amanda and Elyot’s relationship. Alternating between sexually charged and emotionally abusive, the complex dynamics of their relationship never make the audience feel at ease.

Review: A LITTLE NIGHT MUSIC at Tower Grove AbbeyReview: A LITTLE NIGHT MUSIC at Tower Grove Abbey
October 7, 2022

Filled with vim and vigor from start to finish. Stray Dog Theatre’s A Little Night Music is an energetic and passionate treat. This frolic filled morsel of musical theater is a pure delight that is not to be missed.

Review: HOUSE OF JOY at Loretto-Hilton Center For The Performing ArtsReview: HOUSE OF JOY at Loretto-Hilton Center For The Performing Arts
September 21, 2022

Visually stunning and brimming with romance, The Repertory Theatre of St. Louis’ House of Joy is a compelling production that pulls no punches in emphasizing the dangers of authoritarianism and the power of love in tempestuous times.

BWW Review: TRIASSIC PARQ at Tower Grove AbbeyBWW Review: TRIASSIC PARQ at Tower Grove Abbey
April 22, 2022

Not for the timid and genteel, Triassic Parq's raunchy and nasty tone coats a story of friendship, change, and acceptance.  

BWW Review: THE 39 STEPS at The Loretto Hilton Center For Performing ArtsBWW Review: THE 39 STEPS at The Loretto Hilton Center For Performing Arts
March 28, 2022

The Rep’s season finale is a hilarious romp that celebrates the frivolous, delivering a barrage of slapstick fun from start to finish. Murder has never been more fun!