The House of Yes

The Boston Phoenix

DIRECTED BY: Mark Waters

REVIEWED: 10-20-97

Adapted from the Wendy MacLeod play, Mark Waters's The House of Yes is a house of cards -- a flimsy structure of forced whimsy, contrived absurdity, and hit-and-miss outrageousness held together by two shrewd and powerful performances. One is from the ubiquitous Parker Posey, who turns in her best work to date in her most over-the-top role as Jackie-O, the privileged, psychopathic daughter of the serenely twisted Mrs. Pascal -- who's played with equal brilliance by Geneviève Bujold.

It seems that long ago, on the day John Kennedy was assassinated, Mr. Pascal mysteriously disappeared and Jackie-O developed a fetishistic fascination with Camelot, especially the late president's widow, whom she dresses up as. She also developed an unusually intense affection for her twin brother, Marty (a bumptious Josh Hamilton). Her host of symptoms, barely controlled by chemicals, erupt when Marty visits the family manse at the height of a hurricane with his new, blue-collar fiancée Lesly (a horsy Tori Spelling) in tow. The family dysfunctions mount with the storm, and what begins as promising farce collapses into nonsense. Fortunately, all the best lines belong to Posey and Bujold, who deliver them with, respectively, acid hysteria and regal malevolence, providing the stabilizing eye for this histrionic hurricane. At the Kendall Square.

--Peter Keough

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