Home / Drama / Mydidae – Trafalgar Studios, London

Mydidae – Trafalgar Studios, London

Writer: Jack Thorne

Director: Vicky Jones

Reviewer: Edie R

[rating:4.5]

Keir Charles and Phoebe Waller-Bridge in Mydidae, Soho Theatre, 5 December 2012 (courtesy of Simon Annand) 3Kitchen Sink Drama is dead: long live Bathroom Sink Drama! Jack Thorne’s 2012 play “Mydidae” has transferred to Trafalgar Studios, where the stage of Studio 2 has been fitted out with loo, bath, basin and all complete, including fully functioning plumbing. There’s a dolls house delight to the setting, and “Mydidae” itself is also a small, dark delight, where humour, heartbreak and hot water mix as a couple talk in the bath.

David (Keir Charles) and Marian (Phoebe Waller-Bridge) are both implausibly funny and eloquent. There’s not a dull line in the play: if anything, the repartee is a bit too brilliant for the audience to feel fond of the characters, though both are well-rendered and interesting. Their relationship is also intriguing, poising intimacy – after all, they spend most of the play naked and entwined in a bath – over an undercurrent of mistrust that infuses their banter with irresistible dramatic tension.

Why is it called “Mydidae”? Its title gives the play a ring of Greek tragedy, which actually isn’t wholly misleading: this self-styled exploration of “the darker side of love”, with its two witty, unhappy protagonists, turns out to be a funny, bathroom-sized tragedy. But in fact, so trusty Wikipedia informs us, Mydidae are a family of large flies which mimic the colouring of wasps – harmless insects that look tougher than they are.

It would be hard to characterise either Waller-Bridge or Charles as harmless, especially towards the play’s end, when the action takes a violent tumble-turn. To say more would spoil a nasty shock which you may enjoy. But certainly their brittle cleverness, like the Mydidae’s fierce stripes, is a disguise for vulnerability and for actual and figurative impotence. David is recurrently seen on the phone, bluffing a much-interrupted sales pitch for a product that “nobody wants to buy”; Marian tells him about a dream in which he rides in to rescue her from masturbating grass people (don’t ask) “on a small horse”.

It’s a very funny, very slick, very sad play, compelling and watchable, though even at an hour and twenty minutes, it goes on too long: the audience is still rapt, true, but some power is lost in the closing scenes.

Go and see it, if only for the childish pleasure of seeing running water onstage – the quality of Thorne’s writing, and the calibre of the actors, buoyed up on that hot water, won’t disappoint.

Photo: Simon Annand

Runs until 30th March

About The Reviews Hub

The Reviews Hub
The Reviews Hub was set up in 2007. We aim to review all professional types of theatre, whether that be Commercial, Repertory or Fringe as well as Comedy, Music, Gigs etc.