Wednesday, 19 December 2012

Theatre review: Mydidae

DryWrite is a company that commissions playwrights to produce work on very specific briefs, and there's nothing dry about their challenge to Jack Thorne, to set a play entirely in a bathroom. Named after a kind of short-lived fly, Mydidae takes place over a day in the life of a couple, Marian (Phoebe Waller-Bridge) and David (Keir Charles.) It starts as a fairly light piece that looks at how comfortable the pair are together, their morning peeing, flossing and shaving all done in front of each other, sharing a lot of in-jokes that suggest a couple who've got to know each other really well. But a darker underside becomes apparent - the day ahead is one they're both dreading, and it's not just because of the important business pitch David has to make: This is also the anniversary of an event which Thorne makes the audience aware of with a nice degree of subtlety.

The central sequence of the play takes place at the end of the day though, when they return and David has planned for them to share a candlelit bath - so there'sFULL-FRONTAL MALE NUDITY ALERT!of a particularly unabashed nature, as well as a brieferSEVERE VADGE WARNING!The romantic gesture goes badly awry though, culminating in quite a shocking and unexpected twist.

Vicky Jones' production features some beautifully naturalistic performances from the two actors, Waller-Bridge all pain that's barely suppressed beneath the breezy surface, Charles more forcefully wanting to move on from the source of it. Thorne's dialogue helps them in this with exchanges that feel believable, and in the early scenes of the play entertain us as we get to know the characters.

This fun side gives way to something more emotionally moving, and then in turn to something darker and quite disturbing. In the final section of the play the unity of place imposed on the writer becomes not a problem as such, but more obviously a restriction, as the bathroom seems a really unlikely place for them to return together at that point. But Mydidae certainly shows how taking some of a writer's tools away can make different creative juices flow to replace them.

Mydidae by Jack Thorne is booking until the 22nd of December at Soho Theatre Upstairs.

Running time: 1 hour 15 minutes straight through.

4 comments:

  1. Hi Mate,
    Love the writing style of your reviews. Just one question though, why do you call it a "severe vadge warning"?
    Cheers

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    Replies
    1. It's just a bit of a tongue-in-cheek joke about the stereotype that gay readers (of whom I suspect there's one or two) will be terrified of vaginas, and need to be given fair warning (like a severe weather warning.)

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    2. Haha!!! I do fall in to that category but am not terrified! However, I'd be very surprised if Phoebe's vagina was visible. Surely it was pubes?

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    3. I won't say I'm too classy ever to have made more detailed commentary on that sort of thing, but I wasn't paying quite so much attention to the area in this instance. In any case I don't recall this being an "is that a merkin or is someone's doorstep missing its welcome mat" situation like the Female Creature from Frankenstein last year.

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