Dust by Milly Thomas
Soho Theatre (Short walk from Tottenham Court Rd tube station) until 17th March, 2018
70 Minutes without an interval
Veronica Stein, February 25th, 2018.
Gripping and thoughtful
Alice finds herself, at the beginning of the deeply affecting Dust, peering down at her own body on a mortician’s table. She’s just committed suicide but somehow she can see all of the aftermath. She sees how her family deals, watches her old friends, and attends her own funeral- none of it is as she imagined.
Dust at the Soho Theatre is gripping throughout- the premise seems entirely simple but the very nature of Alice’s struggles are evidently incredibly complicated. Sprinkled into the mix are nuggets of humour that at points may be distracting but generally hit their mark and are necessary to release some of the tension in the room, which is very palpable: along with her gutting playwriting, Thomas’s performance is certainly one for the books. Portraying Alice’s family in the aftermath as well as herself with ease is certainly impressive, as well as maintaining comic timing, pace, and a feeling of tension throughout the 70 minutes.
Dust has the rare capacity of being a play that seems to be at its best as a one-woman piece. Perhaps due to the strength of Thomas’s performance, I never clamoured to see the people she references nor the situations she plays out. The loneliness of it all is truly encapsulated in the format as well as the production design- the clinical, neutral nature of her costume and the set let the colour of the language pop, but provides a fitting background for the core of the piece.
Milly Thomas has been universally hailed for Dust at the Edinburgh Fringe, and it’s completely understandable why. Depression, anxiety, and suicide are incredibly important issues that are concealed under shame- Thomas examines them in a deeply personal, poignant work that deters pity through laughter and encourages conversation. Dust is raw.
Alice: Milly Thomas
Director: Sara Joyce
Designer: Anna Reid
Sound Design: Max Perryment
Lighting Design: Jack Weir