Writer: Milly Thomas
Reviewer: James Napleton
A profane and wickedly morose show, explicit and often gruesome in sexual detail, Dust is a supernatural adventure of life after death. The story follows a girl called Alice, a university graduate, who has recently taken her own life. Performed and written by Milly Thomas, the play has an incredibly vivid and forensic quality through an insightful script and exacting performance. So, as Alice stares at her own body in the morgue and her parent’s grotesque display of grief her detachment is shocking and morbid.
Now free of her mortal burdens Alice finds herself remaining in the world, but as an ethereal ghost, a spectator of what is left. When the reality of death comes to pass she is initially confident in her decision and she scorns the predictability of her family’s reactions. However Alice begins to become upset as the space that she left behind in the world begins to get filled by others. What drives the play is the immediacy of Alice’s emotions, dying has seemed to give back what her years of depression had taken away: feeling. This is balanced against a constant inner paradox, a contrast of black humour and detachment against a human need to connect.
The characterization is similarly conflicted, as she is both irreverent and charming, and this draws the audience in. Her humour is as much shocking as clever, but the effect is the same. The narrative technique of exploring a post-mortem world is deployed skilfully. But, the central success of the play is the performance, which despite the minimalism of the set and physicality creates a very visual experience. Thomas has an unwavering power to intimate and build the world around her through expressive character swapping or precise descriptive language. Overall this is an accomplished performance, fascinating script and a very enjoyable play.
Runs until 27 August 2017 | Image: Contributed