The Other Room (in association with RWCMD) opens its doors to OtherLife’s inaugural production of Jack Thorne’s Mydidae, a play set within the awkwardly intimate walls of a family bathroom.
The snug space of The Other Room theatre lends itself well to the staging of this intimate piece. It is of no surprise that the bathroom is fully functioning (designed by Ceci Calf); it’s the kind of detail one has come to expect. Lighting (and sound) by Will Gregory is particularly good, although some darker stages may confuse the twelve-hour narrative.
Marian and Dave’s morning ablutions are set to the playful rhythm of a young couple comfortably in love but as the bathtub fills (noisily), so the pressure builds, and the marking of a painful anniversary reveals the dysfunction bubbling beneath the surface.
Fast-talking Isabella Marshall portrays a tightly wound Marian, a woman intent on filling her brain with new information. Matthew Raymond plays an almost non-committal Dave who sidesteps Marian’s probing. Both display a fear of intimacy, before a climactic event provides a chilling catharsis and seems, in a way, to split this play into two. The dialogue in the first part frustrates somewhat. Thorne contrives to drip feed information that would be better off out in the open for us all and in a way, a deeper exploration of the intricacies of a relationship reeling from tragedy is missed. The language in the final stages is far more compelling and disturbing and Marshal excels as the damaged Marian, exposing her dark vulnerabilities. Here lies the viscous adhesive that binds this couple, a shared torment that they have buried under the vacuous silt of everyday distractions. It is a shift that may not sit well if you prefer your plays and relationships to be straightforward.
OtherLife presents an assured first production. Its mission statement is to seek “a theatre that connects material, artists and audience; which shares humanity; which involves us; which can make us see an other life” and it is a welcome addition to the Welsh theatre scene.
Mydidae runs at The Other Room until 2nd June 2018.
Prepare yourself for nudity and running water.
Images: Jack Willingham