Trafalgar Studios, London – until 13 October 2018
Guest reviewer: Maddie Cordes
Writer and solo performer Milly Thomas with the third showing of her play (Edinburgh Fringe 2017 and the Soho Theatre February this year) had the whole audience laughing every minute or so at the start with her sharp wit at the absurd situations we all find ourselves in with our circle of family, friends and lovers. Alice, Milly’s character who has killed herself and is now in limbo looking back at the effect of her death on that circle is a twenty-something but this production is relatable to all ages.
The intimate space of the studio featuring a minimal set designed by Anna Reid combined with a production by Sara Joyce featuring music and sounds that complement the words is perfect for this journey Alice takes us on for her monologue of 75 minutes.
But through this monologue, Thomas portrays numerous other characters in addition to Alice brilliantly, especially switching at a stroke from male to female and different accents almost like a ventriloquist act.
‘Why am I laughing at suicide?’ I asked myself at the beginning but then found myself quickly holding on to the rollercoaster with white knuckles as we travelled from the hilarious to the tragic with every emotion coming to the surface. Is suicide selfish was a question which kept arising? Well, this play touched a nerve for me and stopped me in my tracks as I sat in the dark.
I perhaps selfishly related the action to my own personal experiences of the unexpected and unfair losses of close family too young and the effect on the family, those in my circle with poor mental health, relationships with my parents, feeling grateful for my nearest and dearest, reminding us of what is important and thinking we really must be there for those we love and give them the time and space to talk. As Milly pointed out after taking her bows to rapturous applause and cheers “not talking is literally killing us”. Let’s put those phones down!