The cruelty of the children of Vermont knows no bounds, taunting the unfortunate Charlotte Plachett, a young woman passionately devoted to her family, her sickly brother Sissy and her widowed father Josiah, implying that it is she who was responsible for the ghastly murder of her father and stepmother, making up horrible rhymes, a tuneful lie which begins “Lottie Plachett took a hatchet…”
As to the question of evidence, there is none: no murder weapon was found, no bloodstains were found on Lottie’s clothes, so any verdict of guilt will be inferred by matters purely circumstantial. Was coffin maker Josiah the richest man in town, and had he recently changed his will to exclude Lottie in favour of his second wife, the, ahem, former “meat handler?” turned ambitious matriarch? Surely so goodly a daughter as Lottie would not be driven to kill by such matters?
Inspired by the tale of Lizzie Borden, even those familiar with that case of patricide will be shocked by the tragic events of Lottie Plachett Took a Hatchet, written by Justin Elizabeth Sayre and directed by Jessica Hanna, the ensemble rolling through the roster of family members, servants, prosecutors and judges comprising Tom DeTrinis, Ryan Garcia, Tom Lenk, Lauren Lopez and Sayre themself as the “disaster in burlap” who has upended the household with her demands for an indoor toilet.
Lottie putting a brave face on depravity, she admits privately to having “downstairs feelings” for her father but he has very different views on his two children, one a blessing, the other “a faggotty curse,” Sissy devoid of pelvis but full of ambition and needs, particularly for an intimate visit from his more physically gifted pen-pal, something of which father will not approve.
The air thick with profanity, resentment and entrails, Lottie’s slaughter of her beloved doves is far from the first hint of her homicidal instabilities, an unfortunate side-effect of having been born in the unholy mistake of a female body, and the barbed dialogue flies as far and fast as the blood from a crushed skull. The townsfolk against her and the judge swayed by that sentiment, it will come down to the testimony of the maid Mollie, a potato headed loon of an immigrant.
Rotating through costumes and wigs as the tragedy unfolds in flashback during the ongoing trial with performances as increasingly unhinged as Lottie herself, poor dear, Lottie Plachett Took a Hatchet puts the fun in familial dysfunction, a warning for the ages but not a show to which tender children should be exposed – they might get ideas…
Lottie Plachett Took a Hatchet runs at Assembly Roxy until Saturday 27th August