DryWhite’s Mydidae has rightfully transferred to the Trafalgar Studios following a critically acclaimed run at the Soho Theatre. Jack Thorne’s writing is both elliptical and crystalline, warranting a good airing, even if its contents are somewhat unpleasant to absorb.
There’s been a fair amount of discussion regarding Thorne’s ‘surprise’ return to theatre following his recent television sucesses. However, Thorne writes neither screen-play nor script, he writes people. The medium for which his words are intended has little relevence because they land powerfully in whatever space they are given life. The black-box studio theatre provides no easy escape from the uncomfortable, steamy atmosphere, but the punchy dialogue, the lived-in, fully-functional bathroom and the over-bearing stillness makes the play feel, at times, televised. It is testament to Thorne’s writing that Mydidea, uniquely flexible, would be equally gripping on screen as it is on stage.
Phoebe Waller-Bridge and Keir Charles grip the audience by allowing Thorne’s words to emanate freely, without affectation or slant.
Thorne dissects the relationship between two characters, Marian and David, through exchanges and intimacies shared in their bathroom. Reflecting the modern reality of living in London, the functioning bathroom is a firmly believable location for the action, stripping the characters of thier clothing and their dignity as the couple’s deep-seated issues painfully surface, one drop at a time. With Marian’s cutting interruptions and sharp dismissal of David’s romantic gestures it becomes apparent that bath water is the only thing this couple do share. Shouldn’t two people, comfortable enough to pee infront of one another, be capable of having truthful, frank conversations about how they are feeling? Tragically not.
Vicky Jones’ direction is beautifully crisp, similtaneously stark and nuanced, and in an equally impressive demonstration of craft, Waller-Bridge and Charles grip the audience by allowing Thorne’s words to emanate freely, without affectation or slant. Keenly aware that, as humans, we laugh at funerals and cry at weddings, the characters invariably skirt around the difficult subjects with comical exchanges – anything to give the otherwise icy waters a splash of warmth. But, this disarming comic relief lends more grief to the cutting truths as they are washed up before us. When the comforting accompaniment of the running water in the first few scenes is removed the startling silences grow increasingly threatening. And when you expect it to finish, long for it to end, it doesn’t. Nothing has changed; there’s just one more thing to sweep under the carpet, one more thing to “forget.”
Mydidae requires audiences to bravely face the reality of a self-hating generation and witness the obliterating effect this has on love. Go and see it, but only if the play’s offerings are a burden you’re happy to carry around with you.
**** (4 stars)
Runs until 30th March