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Review: Bathtime @sohotheatre for Jack Thorne's Mydidae

3Keir Charles and Phoebe Waller-Bridge in Mydidae, Soho Theatre, 5 December 2012 (courtesy of Simon Annand) 5

Mydidae, as I discovered when I googled it, isn't some obscure Greek tragedy but actually a type of fly and, unsurprisingly, an appropriate title for Jack Thorne's new play at the Soho Theatre's tiny studio space.

Its bathroom setting - the most intimate and private room - makes it feel almost like a fly on the wall documentary. The littlest room is where flesh is bared, ablutions and basic bodily function performed, it is a private space and one where cohabitation suggests a level of comfort and ease.

And, it is a fully plumbed in bathroom. The toilet is used by both characters, married couple Marian (Phoebe Waller-Bridge) and David (Keir Charles), as is the bath.

It also seemed appropriate that a play with a title that made me mistakenly think 'Greek tragedy' should have a whiff of the tragic running through the story.

What we get with Mydidae is a combination of the mundane ordinariness of a relationship, those little in jokes, behaviours and routine that couples fall into behind closed doors and a sense that despite all the affable banter and gestures of affection, there is something not quite right. This is a couple that has issues.

2Keir Charles and Phoebe Waller-Bridge in Mydidae, Soho Theatre, 5 December 2012 (courtesy of Simon Annand) 3It is a slow reveal figuratively and literally as we move through the couples day building to the point  where they strip off for the romantic candle lit bath, to drink wine and talk, and submerged feelings finally bubble to the top.

Marian and David were an interesting couple to spend time with in part due to the wonderfully relaxed, well-observed, natural performances. There is irony in that for all the intimacy of the setting and familiarity and candid conversation, they are still hiding their feelings and desires.

Mydidae is at times funny and charming but isn't quite as moving as it could be, instead Thorne has decided to play for shock value which felt a little extreme and out of kilter.

It's certainly an interesting  and engaging piece, well done but not entirely satisfying. If you want to see what other people get up to in their bathroom or indeed marvel at a fully functioning bath on stage then it is definitely worth a look. Mydidae is around 80 minutes long straight through and is at the Soho Theatre upstairs until Dec 22