Directed by Vicky Jones
Pros: The vibrant conversation and wit between the two characters in the first half of the show was delivered perfectly.
Cons: I thought David’s action two-thirds of the way through the play was unexplainable and Marian’s response equally bizarre even taking into consideration the severe sadness they’ve had in their lives.
Our Verdict: An interesting concept with strong performances from the two actors. Unfortunately the characters’ histories don’t quite match up with their behaviour on stage.
|Courtesy of Simon Annand for DryWrite
It’s probably one of the least talked about rooms in the house, taken for granted that mundane, menial and “not to be spoken about” stuff happens within it, but Jack Thorne has placed the bathroom centre stage in his most recent play, Mydidae. The audience sits for a gripping fifty-five minutes as they watch Marian (Phoebe Waller-Bridge) and David (Keir Charles) using the bathroom from morning till night of one particular and difficult day. We find ourselves becoming the walls of the bathroom as we catch only a glimpse into their lives, only half comprehending their conversations but at the same time witnessing important events that have the potential to blow their suburban lives apart. As the play progresses, we discover the importance of this day, the anniversary of a child’s death.
Mydidae is an investigation by Thorne into the intimacy of Marian and David, a couple who have clearly been together for a long time. It is the unwillingness of both characters to engage in emotional intimacy and their polar opposite relaxed attitudes about physical privacy that gives this play its complex, intriguing attraction. The use of the bathroom is the perfect space for this exploration. We see both characters pee, shave, moisturise, bath. These physical acts that we normally reserve for just ourselves coupled with their stunted conversations makes for an interesting exploration of their relationship.
Phoebe Waller-Bridge has a spark to her performance. Her Marian is quirky and Waller-Bridge portrays a modern woman with the right balance of frailty and strength. Keir Charles turns David from an unsure lover into an unstable man suffering from the lack of connection he has with Marian. Both deliver very strong performances throughout, so it was not the acting that I found in any way wanting in this production.
Thorne perhaps uses too complex an issue to set up the couple’s situation, which doesn’t quite fit in with their interactions throughout. It strikes me that a lost child would cause more of a rift between these two. Although the writer does appear to attempt to counter this with the suggestion that Marian and David have never shared their feelings, it still didn’t feel quite right once all was revealed.
Overall the show is very worth going to see. The actors deliver a dynamic duologue, the set is impressive (working taps and a cabinet full to the brink with deodorants, gels and bathroom “smellies”, which really adds to the feel that we are within a real bathroom) and the ideas surrounding the play are unique. Don’t be put off by the perhaps bizarre events that unfold on stage, the performances are unique and the script has instances of genius and insight.
Please feel free to leave your thoughts and opinions in the comments section below!
Mydidae runs at the Soho Theatre until 22nd December 2012.
Box Office: 020 7478 0100 or book online at http://www.sohotheatre.com/whats-on/mydidae/