8 October 2018

Not the Mousetrap

It was a late choice and a cost-aware one and it was nothing like the popular image of London theatre. The show as called Dust, a one-woman show and an award-winning drama from the Edinburgh Fringe 2017. The topic was suicide and the presentation was appropriately sparse and passionate with some minor humour and some liberal language. That doesn’t disturb me but it did surprise me, here near the Horse Guards (but opposite McDonalds and a string of tourist eateries). The theatre was a very small box within Trafalgar Studios with seating in the round and just a stainless steal autopsy table as a prop. Milly Thomas was just dressed in a skin-tight faun body suit. There were about 120 seats in three rows in a C-pattern. Milly played a young woman with a history of depression, but also dropped into other characters - her best friend, her Mum and Dad, her ex-lover telling stories and portraying characters and outcomes - all in the context of her suicide, of course, and how it came to be. Heavy, with just a few awkward chuckles. It worked well. We investigated a difficult topic that is otherwise kept shadowy. We’re told that suicide is little reported to avoided copy-catting. The stats (from what I’ve read/heard in Australia) are surprisingly high this early-adult age group (especially for males and also for older males). Milly ended the show with a talk to the audience calling for more openness and for donations for a relevant charity. She did a commendable job moving easily and sometimes abruptly through characters and situations with the little props and some effective music. Interestingly, also with some heavy echo on her voice for some passages. I wondered how she’s done that. So, some London theatre, certainly not Mary Poppins or even the Mousetrap. Worthy and socially relevant and convincing.

Milly Thomas wrote and appeared in Dust at the Trafalgar Studio in London. Sara Joyce directed.

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