This evening’s opening night of Pure Theatre‘s “In the Next Room or The Vibrator Play” had everyone in the audience quite a-flutter to say the least. Based in the Victorian era when electricity had just been invented, the play recounts a time when women were diagnosed with “hysteria” and treated with a new electronic machine to, um, calm their nerves.
The entire performance was extremely well executed. The decor in the opening scene really set the stage (literally) with a dark red velvet vintage doctor’s chair taking center stage. I also liked the imaginative and clever ways the doors were “cut” in half so the audience could see into “the next room.” Costume designer Janine McCabe’s costumes were to die for – lots of corsets and bustles. I tried to talk her into parting with one for my personal collection. I’m not done trying. 😉
The leading ladies – Pelham Spong, Andrea Studley, and Tara Denton – had me in stitches for 85% of the time. The other 15% I thought I might actually let some tears fall when they discussed Mrs. Givings, her baby, and the need for a wet nurse. Nthenya Ndunda, who played the wet nurse, did an incredible job. Honestly, it really was the ladies who exhibited the more electrifying performances, as they should have with a play with such a subject matter as this.
Congrats, Pure Theatre and director Cristy Landis. I think this is one of the best plays I’ve ever seen you do. I’m looking forward to seeing what you come up with next. This one definitely had some pulses racing. You should go with someone you want to, um, hold hands with.
Be sure to catch a performance over the next couple weeks. 477 King Street, 843.723.4444, www.puretheatre.org.
words: Olivia Pool