Home » Reviews » Off West End » Everyday Maps for Everyday Use, Finborough Theatre

Everyday Maps for Everyday Use, Finborough Theatre

Tom Morton-Smith
Directed by Beckie Mills
★★★★

Pros: Fascinating script and great acting.

Cons: It’s a shame there is nowhere to have a drink before the show!

Our Verdict: A great piece of new writing. Don’t miss this one.

Courtesy of the Finborough Theatre

It was with great regret that I arrived at the Finborough to find that the wine bar which used to be below the theatre has gone into administration (a less successful by-product of the Olympics we’re told). I hadn’t been to this wonderful venue for a few months, and although I had heard that the Finborough Wine Café would be closing, it wasn’t until I arrived that the reality of the situation hit me. Thankfully, London’s finest off-West End theatre continues to function to its usual high standards, but we do hope that the bar below re-opens soon! Despite our sorrows, it was a very pleasant and thought-provoking trip to the Finborough for the production of a new piece of writing, Everyday Maps for Everyday Use.

The play is set in Woking, which, as some of you may know, is the place where the Martian invasion begins in HG Wells’ War of the Worlds. The story revolves around a 16 year old Girl, Maggie, who has found a warm patch in Horsell Common – the very spot where the invasion begins in Wells’ novel – where she believes something alien is buried. This is where she meets Behrooz, an artist who spends his evenings mapping the surface of Mars. Everyday Maps for Everyday Use is ultimately a story about sex, or more precisely an exploration into the nature of sexual desire. Maggie has unusual fantasies, and using this as a starting point, Morton-Smith takes a closer look at some of the more taboo aspects of the human psyche. This script is very well written, especially given that the subject matter is rather delicate. Morton-Smith manages to write about this very tastefully, never going over the top but never shying away from difficult concepts either. It is a carefully crafted script which will certainly get you thinking.

Because of the content of the play, the director would have had a particularly tough task in staging this show. Thankfully, Beckie Mills achieves this masterfully – the cast hit the perfect balance, and deliver honest, emotional and sometimes humourous performances. They make the most of the complex script, and are a pleasure to watch. Skye Lourie, who plays Maggie, has a particularly challenging part (how does one portray an emotionally unhinged teenager with an alien tentacle fetish?!) but Lourie rises to the task fearlessly, showing her skill as an actress with a poignant and honest performance. Other excellent portayals come from Moncef Mansur as the artist Behrooz, caught up in a dilemma about Maggie, and Cosima Shaw as Maggie’s mother, who has a few sexual kinks of her own. Hats off to them and indeed to the entire cast for their polished performances.

Overall, Everyday Maps for Everyday Use is a fascinating production, due to both the challenging script and the high standard of the acting. The usual attention to detail which we have come to expect of the Finborough is of course adhered to: the set is neatly designed and aesthetically impeccable, and the show is superbly lit. As usual, it is an excellent example of the best of London theatre. Make sure you catch this one, but remember to keep an open mind. And don’t be squeamish!

Please feel free to leave your thoughts and opinions in the comments section below!

Everyday Maps for Everyday Use runs at the Finborough Theatre until 22nd December 2012.
Box Office: 0844 847 1652 or book online at http://www.finboroughtheatre.co.uk/productions/2012/papatangonewwritingfestival-everydaymapsforeverydayuse.php

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Founded in 2011, Everything Theatre started life as a pokey blog run by two theatre enthusiasts and – thanks to the Entry Pass Scheme for 16-25 year olds – regular National Theatre goers. Today, we are run by part-time volunteers from a wide array of backgrounds. Among our various contributors are people who work in theatre, but also people who work in law, medicine, events, marketing and even psychiatry! We are all united by our love for the London theatre scene.