The Witch of Wall Street, a wonderfully wicked production, brings to life the story of Hetty Green, who managed to make an impressive fortune on the stock market, battling for recognition in a world dominated by men. Referred to exclusively as ‘Isaac’ by her stoic father, she’s constantly reminded that as a woman she just isn’t good enough. Haunted by this emotional abuse, Hetty tries desperately to fill this void of emptiness inside, with the only thing her father valued: money.
The production is fast-paced, brutally honest, and witty. Cartoonish characterisations of American journalists and under-paid clerks kept a play that could have been weighted with weariness, light and exciting. Benedict Turvill as Ned seamlessly transitioned from the coarse uncaring father, to sweet sincere lover, to a bumbling, buffoon of a priest, until concluding the show as the loyal and loving son. He was both charming and cruel, doting and deceitful. An impressive performance. Similarly, Olivia Krauze as Sylvia playfully interacted with the audience as the suffocating and pushy Auntie, and flirty, flamboyant priest. Her crooning heckles from the audience left me in fits of giggles.
On the surface, Hetty was played as an incredibly unpleasant character, perceived only as selfish and cruel, however Dorothy McDowell excellently unravelled the characters’ complexity, exposing how her father’s emotional abuse had haunted this lonely and untrusting women her whole life. It was clear in McDowell’s portrayal how much self-hatred she’d swallowed, and it was very clever watching this internalised misogyny manifests itself in the cruel way Hetty treated her own daughter. A nice, somewhat-Freudian touch.
Though the play was enchanting, spellbinding and charming, ever so often the façade cracked, as the actors all too often slipped out of the tricky American accent. Nonetheless this didn’t detract much from the otherwise bewitching performance.
They say that money is the root of all evil, and after watching ‘The Witch of Wall Street’ this sweet epigrammatic saying has never felt so true. This touching piece of theatre really revealed how dangerous, corruptible and addicting money can be. In a desperate attempt to feed her greed, Hetty sacrifices everything, family, friends and comfort. An enjoyable and entertaining watch. If you’re around try and check it out!