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Seven Dials Theatre    

Mosquito
2.0Reviewer's rating

I was really expectant for this play. The premise offers so much interest in terms of an examination of human behaviour and frailties and relationships. Sadly, neither the writing nor the direction lived up to the ideas and it felt like a largely wasted opportunity.

Mosquito opens at the end of an affair. We see Lemy (played with slightly unsubtle brittleness by Aoife Boyle) and James (Seamus Dilane) split up in the first half as he ends what has clearly been an ongoing weekly tryst between the two taking place outside of his marriage to the offstage Bella. It is made clear that this is not his only affair but also that his wife has just had a baby.

There are two doors at the back of the stage at Seven Dials and these were used frequently to show the characters moving through their time together (when this time was supposed to be was confusing. He was on his way to work, so I assume morning, but he also had a massive Pret lunch and this – among other details – made it very unclear). The comings and goings seemed indiscriminate and unnecessary. I ended up asking myself stupid questions like “why is his shirt in the living room but his jacket in the bedroom” rather than being able to fully focus on what was happening between them. The jittery direction didn’t allow us to settle with the characters.

The characters themselves were too broadly drawn. He was a BAD GUY who slept around on his wife without remorse (though frequently expressed remorse for reasons that were – again – unclear). She was a DAMAGED PERSON who he took advantage of. All very broad brush.

But where this would have been an interesting and valid jumping-off point from which to explore each of their more human side: her poor choices and motivations, his conflicts and humanity for example, that exploration never came. Instead, we got a three-year jump, and implausibly filled in backstory and circumstance for a reunion. The violent denouement, when it came, managed to somehow feel at once inevitable and unearned.

In the short conversation with the writer in the programme, he expresses that the message of the play is ‘be kind’. I get that. But it feels like that kindness shouldn’t come at the expense of seeking greater understanding. Art isn’t here to be kind. It is here to explore our deeper humanity and allow that kindness to be real because it is based on who we really are. We have to be kind to people in all their flaws.

There were moments in both writing and performance where I could see some real potential here. But I feel that overall little was achieved. I came away frustrated rather than illuminated. And that was ironically mosquito-like in its annoyance.

  • Drama
  • Written by Cameron Corcoran
  • Directed by Nicky Allpress
  • Seven Dials Theatre    
  • Until: 23/07/2022
  • Running time: 1 hour

About The Author

Editorial team and reviewer (UK)

Emma Burnell is a freelance journalist writing about politics and theatre. She has her own blog on immersive theatre (Soakedindreams.com). Emma recently completed an MA in Journalism and has worked in communications for think tanks and pressure groups for fifteen years.

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