First published in 1928, Joseph Moncure March’s classic poem THE WILD PARTY was widely banned for its lust-fuelled story of an affair between two cabaret stars, and the final, fatal party they throw in their seedy Hollywood apartment. It’s twice been presented as a musical and is about to return to the new Other Palace (currently the St James Theatre) as such, but Mingled Yarn Theatre are taking a different approach with their raw romantic two-hander staged by The Hope Theatre in Islington in January. Maintaining its poetic prose and Jazz-age roots, this production will be accompanied by newly recorded music, and will be performed by just two actors playing multiple roles.
Producer David Ralf explains why he was so drawn to this particular book-length poem, what audiences can expect and why The Hope is the perfect space to present Mingled Yarn’s refreshing take on this classic piece of literature.
“I discovered THE WILD PARTY a few years ago – and it’s a poem that once started you gobble up voraciously. It’s got this incredible rhythm and fantastic Twenties language. It’s also filthy, which is great – it was banned when it was first published – and it’s got these larger-than-life characters lusting after each other and turning on each other.”
“It’s inspired two musicals but having worked with director Rafaella Marcus in the past with Mingled Yarn I knew she’d be able to make the text sing as it does on the page. She’s brought in clowning and vaudeville elements, so we’re doing something exciting and new and different, but it’s all still grounded in this stonking piece of writing.”
What is it about The Hope Theatre that makes it the perfect space for this production?
“After a fantastic year working with Matthew Parker at the Hope on Her Aching Heart, Steel Magnolias and Sea Life as their Associate Producer and knowing just how flexible it can be, I was so keen to bring something else into that space, and I leapt at the chance to bring this new version of THE WILD PARTY in to start The Hope’s 2017 off with a boozy, sexy bang!”