I hardly know where to begin with this fascinating and relentlessly passionate show. It is exciting, challenging and in the end delivers exactly what it promises; a stark, honest and unapologetic peek behind the curtain at seven women, some famous, some infamous, others nearly entirely overlooked by history but each one, obsessed.
Based on the writing by renowned Canadian Poet Carolyn Smith, Hooked is not so much a theatre piece as a master class in minimalist performance art featuring a tour de force turn by award winning actor Nicky Guadagni, whose every phrase and facial gesture is perfectly calculated to captivate even the most stalwart of audience members. This is not an easy show to watch. It is an hour of mesmerizing heartbreak, each new character so fully realised that you cannot help but be drawn in, only to experience anew another fall from grace, another descent into depravity, alcoholism, misery and death, so completely that at the end of the night you may very well need a drink or a puppy to offset the despair. It is also a somewhat arduous production with little levity or warmth which is accented by the harsh, persistent front lighting and the 10:30 pm timeslot both accentuating the uncompromising nature of the piece. The language of these monologues is unimaginably beautiful, each one so individual and illustrative, a small window into the depths of these multi-faceted women, incredibly detailed without a trace of insincerity. I found myself craving some element of levity, some moment of warmth, beauty or hope but that is not what is promised and that is not what is offered.
This show is not for everyone, but for anyone who enjoys the inner workings of the female psyche, pristine, glorious prose, exemplary acting and a little view into the fascinating history of seven powerful, superhuman and infinitely flawed women, you too will become obsessed so head to Sweet venue at the International Hotel, but leave time for a coffee first and a cocktail after.