Review: Napoleon Disrobed, Arcola Theatre - riotous, surreal and silly fun
Review: Fanny & Alexander, Old Vic - tense, gripping, joyous but still overly long

Review: Suicide under the spotlight in Milly Thomas' Dust, #SohoTheatre

Dust - Milly Thomas (courtesy of The Other Richard)_3
Dust - Milly Thomas. Photo: The Other Richard

Alice wakes up in a hospital, staring down at her own corpse. She is now an outsider in her own life, an invisible shadow in the aftermath of her suicide.

She follows her parents home, visits hers friends and cheating boyfriend, watching how her death affects them all. We get flash backs to her life, her depression, her isolation.

It's a candid frank and witty account, written and performed by Milly Thomas wearing a flesh coloured body stocking with only a shiny metal morgue table and four mirrors for a set - metaphors aplenty. 

Against the vanilla-attired Alice, her friends and family are the colour - her drug-taking, shower-avoiding brother, wealthy and officious aunt and supportive best friend just three.

They are well-drawn and astutely performed by Thomas who flits between multiple characters with ease and pin-point timing. They are also well-observed, as are the reactions and their interactions following her death.

Alice is a voyeur watching the arguments, the break downs, the guilt-fuelled, grief-laced sex, the irony being that in observing that she wants it all back. The 'you'll miss it when it's gone' kind of irony.

The play has great pace, is funny, sharp and at times deeply moving. It is gripping and entertaining but the slight problem I have is that by the end I didn't feel I really knew much about Alice and the depression that led her to take her own life.

Her illness results in her being absent in her own life and while you get glimpses of the person she could be she still felt a like an enigma. Without knowing Alice a bit better it makes the aftermath strangely one-sided.

I'm giving it four stars for the energy and skill of the performance (Milly Thomas does an impressive the wobbly chin), the humour and its observations on grief. It is 75 minutes without an interval and is at the Soho Theatre upstairs until March 17.

Related post:

Q&A with Milly Thomas on writing and performing Dust.