Writer and Director: Catherine Cranfield
Two pristine loos represent the series of bathrooms in which Flushed’s punchy scenes take place. Here Marnie (Elizabeth Hammerton) and sister Jen (Iona Champain) share hilarious thoughts on life as twenty-somethings. Jen is sweetly immature. When Marnie suggests it’s time she gets a proper job, she responds defensively, “Acting is a proper job!”.
But work life and even love life are ultimately less important to them than their close relationship. On a double date they retreat to the ladies to plot an escape. Subsequently Marnie has a brief fling. It’s not that he’s awful, she tells Jen. More that “he’s Times New Roman.” Writer Catherine Cranfield’s cracking script and confident direction sweep us into this world of youthful energy, Hammerton and Champain brilliantly embodying the physicality of those private moments in public bathrooms, forever adjusting their make-up and checking their appearance in the mirror.
They don’t appear to have a care in the world. That is, until Marnie reveals that despite all her upfront talk of periods, she hasn’t actually menstruated for a year and she’s worried. Hammerton is particularly good switching from glowing confidence to her shocked processing of an awful diagnosis. Her condition means that she will never have the baby she has dreamt of. The play darkens as the implications of this begin to sink in.
Yet Marnie reveals her youthfulness in her inability to imagine much about motherhood beyond sourcing baby clothes from The Little White Company – this is not a play that explores privilege. But Jen matures as she realises she would do anything to help her sister. She has some false starts: “At least you won’t get fat,” she blurts out before narrating a wonderfully daft shaggy dog story to make Marnie laugh. But Jen will finally be able to offer real comfort and support to her adored sister.
Runs until 6 November 2021