by Jack Thorne.
Soho Theatre Upstairs 21 Dean Street To 22 December 2012.
Mon-Sat 7.30pm Mat Sat 3.30pm.
Runs 1hr 10min No interval.
TICKETS: 020 7478 0100.
Review: Timothy Ramsden 15 December.
Too much self-consciousness in play about a troubled relationship.
Theatre’s clearly gone beyond the kitchen sink and into the fitted-bathroom era; fitting his play into a bathroom was the task set writer Jack Thorne by producers Drywrite. A combined lavatory and bathroom, shared unreservedly by Marian and Keith.
Thorne, whose impressive debut When You Cure Me incorporated some messy physical closeness, has both characters fully use all aspects of the facilities, jointly or separately. Only this time it does seem contrived. And despite it, there’s a reserve between the characters, making it difficult to determine the state of their relationship outside the bathroom.
It’s deliberate as they start by focusing on separate matters via ‘phone or earpiece. But it affects their conversation throughout. They’re in the same bathroom but don’t seem to belong, happily or otherwise, together.
Keir Charles’ businessman David, preparing to sell a project, can be formally polite in his apologies or sudden flow of consideration, while Phoebe Waller-Bridge’s Marian is both defensive and detached in her bursts of laughter and speech cutting itself short near her brief sentences’ ends.
There’s little of the informal, unspoken behaviour that develops in a close relationship, something only partly explained by this day being a sad anniversary – a vtial dimension but still only a single one.
Vicky Jones’ inward-looking direction increases this sense – it’s like a play lit only from the sides, things fading till the Soho’s air-conditioning seems a significant underlying sound-score.
Contrasting this is one ‘loud’ moment of sudden violent action, which comes out of the shared grief or guilt.
Yet, balancing the sense of artificial restriction and self-consciousness, there’s a developing tension in David’s business project, while the release of tension in physical violence leads to a surprising conclusion, which seems as natural as it is chilling, incorporating as it does the possibility of a relationship that can keep its adhesion only through finding relief in receiving or inflicting pain.
His title puts Thorne alongside Jean-Paul Sartre in using flies to name (very different) plays. Mydidae are comparatively large, stinging, and short-lived flies. That’s their nature; these people create mutual hurt through their individual temperament and will.
Marian: Phoebe Waller-Bridge.
David: Keir Charles.
Director: Vicky Jones.
Designer: Am y Jane Cook.
Lighting: Jack Williams.
Sound/Composer: Isobel Waller-Bridge.