The Arts

In the Next Room or the vibrator play

In the Next Room or the vibrator play featured image

Reviewed by Paula Citron
September 22, 2011

In the Next Room or the vibrator play
Tarragon Theatre
Written by Sarah Ruhl
Directed by Richard Rose
Performed by David Storch, Trish Lindström, Melody A. Johnson, Jonathan Watton, Ross McMillan , Marci T. House and Elizabeth Saunders
Tarragon Theatre Mainspace
Sept. 13 to Oct. 23, 2011

American playwright Sarah Ruhl’s In the Next Room or the vibrator play, at the Tarragon, is inspired by the little known topic of the medicinal use of vibrators in Victorian times. The electrical massage was used, by reputable men of science, to treat symptoms of hysteria.

Ruhl’s play is very provocative theatre. David Boechler’s marvellous set gives Ruhl’s ideas the perfect place to germinate. We see, simultaneously, the private living room of Dr. Givings’ home, and his doctor’s office where he administers his electrical treatments.

Ruhl writes arch dialogue filled with double entendres, and Richard Rose has directed to heighten Ruhl’s satire. The talented cast turns the archness into sly fun.

The second act is over-long,, but the play intrigues with both its humour, and its very dark undertone about the place of women.

What could have been a dirty joke is elevated to stimulating art, pardon the pun.

In the Next Room or the vibrator play continues at the Tarragon Theatre Mainspace until Oct. 23.

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