Claire HooperThis was a charming interlude with Hooper’s nearest and dearest. Her husband, her children, her (hitherto untapped in-laws) and very amusing it was too.

Beginning with her husband, Wade Duffin she poked (mostly) gentle fun at them one and all. The said motivation of this show was that having one child presumably at Kindergarten and the other a napping new baby Hooper was left on her own for a great deal of the time. This gave her much time to ponder material for her show and where better than to start at home?

Declaring herself not to be the most house proud of women, for example muddy boots left on the front verandah from a walk 2 weeks ago, footprints still on the outside path, Hooper was thrown into panic at the announcement of a visit from her mother-in-law a professional house cleaner.

In panic mode she enlisted 2 house cleaning ladies who after some hours announced they had only the windows to complete the job.” Where are we at?” she asked and on being told $400.00 she decided to draw the curtains. Her mother-in-law stunned her into disbelief with the fact that some of her clients never cleaned between her weekly visits and some of their windows were dirtier than Claire’s.

This segued neatly into Hooper and Duffin becoming engaged before she had met his parents. Thus they were morally bound to visit the Gold Coast, to where all New Zealanders emigrate apparently. As they sat cosily around the table her future mother-in-law slipped an envelope across to Hooper who tried to lighten the mood with “what’s this? A questionnaire?” Well yes it was and Hooper led us through the12 things I’d like to know about you. Followed neatly by another envelope entitled 12 things you should know about me. “I’m a little weird, but not in a dangerous way.” was statement 1 and it progressed from there into “normal” and “quite unusual” habits and hobbies.

Do you prefer homemade gifts or vouchers? This question produced a spontaneous round of applause when Hooper declared all Spotlight stores should have a sign at the entrance with the disclaimer declaring “NOBODY WANTS WHAT YOU’RE PLANNING TO MAKE”.

When she asked her husband to describe her temperament, presumably as part of a magazine quiz, he replied “explosive rage.” Hooper gave us several incidents that drove her into this state. One being car drivers running red lights when she was seriously tempted to ram the perpetrator.

When the said parents-in-law returned to New Zealand another family visit was planned, followed closely by the death of her husband’s grandmother requiring another journey across sea. This lead to a very funny series of “Things your husband hadn’t mentioned before”. which drew roars of laughter from women in the audience. These customs were part of Maori funeral traditions and led to the management of explaining death to small children. Tricky but necessary when faced with an open casket viewing. Her eldest daughter’s impromptu dance around the casket in the middle of the service was demonstrated by Hooper with abandoned glee.

It was an excellent portrait of all too familiar family exploits and quirks delivered with impeccable timing  and extremely well received.

Token Events presents
Claire Hooper

Venue: State Library of WA - Theatre | Perth Cultural Centre, 25 Francis Street Perth, WA
Dates: 25 – 28 January 2017

Part of the 2017 Perth Fringeworld Festival

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