Giving voice to her internal thoughts, Holly Hall’s You Wouldn’t Like Me When I’m Angry is a work in progress with solid bones. The characters and plot are sophisticated and clearly outlined for a one-woman show. Further development of the technical and abstract aspects will help to bring it fully to life.
Hall is a presents a character of no boundaries – essentially the biggest people pleaser in the world – and everyone in her personal and professional life takes advantage of her. In order to remain in control of her insecurities, Hall’s ‘Critical Voice’ decides to clue her in on her own major flaw.
The show’s narrative is told through a series of character monologues as Hall shares her perspective of life with us and we see first-hand how she is treated by those around her.
It’s an incredibly clever twist of the familiar idea that we are our own biggest critics, but Hall shows us that this saying is not entirely true. From the Mafia-esque, Stepford wife to the overly anxious mess that is the character version of Holly, her work is immaculate, physically changing her demeanour as she takes on each one.
The personification of the Critical Voice is presented as a morally ambiguous character developed into an entity that is more than just the role that they are assigned to in the show.
Despite the short timeframe, Hall manages to world-build to the point where we become genuinely curious about the structure of the Critical Voice in the workplace and society.
A lot of the humour in this show relies on the sheer ridiculousness of Hall’s script, particularly the little details and moments where we remain more clued into reality than the characters onstage. From the over exaggerated and pitiful situation that Hall describes to us, to the optimistic tone that she adopts and the Karen caricature that is Molly, Hall’s subtle comedy lifts the show exponentially.
The show needs more structure but this is the point of working it all out in front of an audience. With slicker costume changes and music to support the entrances and exits of the different characters it will all come together. Hall has the potential to deviate from the otherwise naturalistic style of the show, for example, it would be incredibly satisfying to see Holly go absolutely feral and not hold back.
This is an ambitious work in progress with a firm base to develop further. As it goes, You Wouldn’t Like Me When I’m Angry is a lesson in standing up for yourself, the dangers of repression, and ultimately boundaries, all lessons that have important real-life consequences.