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Credit: The Other Richard
Credit: The Other Richard

Dust, Underbelly Cowgate – Review

Pros: Jack Weir’s dramatic lighting design is mesmerising.

Cons: The show starts and finishes with an acute noise that will pierce your ears.

Pros: Jack Weir's dramatic lighting design is mesmerising. Cons: The show starts and finishes with an acute noise that will pierce your ears. An isolated high-pitched tone silences the audience and a bleak light pointed towards the auditorium momentarily blinds us all. When the glow dims, a woman is standing in front of a slab, wearing only a tight skin-coloured unitard. Behind the steel table, three full-length mirrors stand upright, each with a bright LED light on top of it. She looks naked and the blue glare is chilling. Jack Weir's visionary lighting design acquires a dramatic role in this solo-show,…

Summary

Rating

Excellent

A darkly sarcastic solo performance by a woman who committed suicide.

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An isolated high-pitched tone silences the audience and a bleak light pointed towards the auditorium momentarily blinds us all. When the glow dims, a woman is standing in front of a slab, wearing only a tight skin-coloured unitard. Behind the steel table, three full-length mirrors stand upright, each with a bright LED light on top of it. She looks naked and the blue glare is chilling.

Jack Weir’s visionary lighting design acquires a dramatic role in this solo-show, where a woman called Alice shares her afterthoughts following her own suicide.

Pushed by the curiosity of how her closest ones are coping with her recent death, she wonders around London, assisting at her own funeral and visiting for the last time her family, her boyfriend and her best friend. “You only die once”, she says before embarking on a journey that is bound to reveal the unpredictable. But, whilst some unexpected truths provoke a feeling of regret for her extreme decision, some awful lies also raise to the surface.

Alice’s monologue swings continuously between the account in real-time and reminiscences from the past. She recalls, for example, the exact moment when she learnt to turn her sadness into anger and those times when her suicidal thoughts were so strong they emerged even whilst she was having sex. A bluish light floods the stage whilst she re-enacts a conversation with her mother: the latter visibly desperate to help her only daughter, whose loss of interest for living had become unbearable to those around her.

With a twist of dark humour, Milly Thomas has written and performs a poignant representation of depression in its true colours. There’s no commiseration for the ones who voluntarily decide to go, nor much repentance in those who initially tried to offer support. Suicide is even described as a selfish act of self-indulgence but there’s no blame for those who choose it.

Thomas uses her whole body and her neutral presence on stage to convey a sense of detachment. Her stark writing and unemotional delivery are the perfect offerings to describe an often misunderstood mental illness.

Written and Performed By: Milly Thomas
Director: Sara Joyce
Producer: Holly De Angelis
Booking Until: 27 August 2017
Box Office: 03333 444167
Booking Link: https://tickets.edfringe.com/whats-on/dust

About Marianna Meloni

Marianna Meloni
Marianna, being Italian, has an opinion on just about everything and believes that anything deserves an honest review. Her dream has always been to become an arts critic and, after collecting a few degrees, she realised that it was easier to start writing in a foreign language than finding a job in her home country. In the UK, she tried the route of grown-up employment but soon understood that the arts and live events are highly addictive.