The Dorfman is one of my favourite spaces in The National. I have seen several shows there this year and every time the space has felt different, and this changes how you feel about the action. Mosquitoes was set in the round, with a large central circle suspended from the rigs, copying the audience, and copying rather the play, which starts and ends in a similar place. Largely set in Switzerland close to the Large Hadron Collider where Alice works the play feels familiar as we can relate at least to the news reports that are live projected onto the screens of the LHC being booted up for the first time happening in recent history.
The ‘heavy’ science presented in the play is made cool and accessible by the help of a mop and some projections and the relationships feel very real- because they have more than one problem. It’s not just a teenage boy struggling to accept his mum’s boyfriend, he’s also struggling with love and betrayal for the first time in the form of sexting, at a time when his aunt who not only is a hypochondriac but also attempts suicide, whilst being a primary carer for her elderly mother who wants to be euthanised, after a life of her husband taking the credit for her scientific prowess. The realism, however, can make it seem flippant in some of these cases. If you have two and half hours to hold my attention traditionally one issue or theme is explored. I’m not sure how I feel about this, still. Lucy Kirkwood makes in work and you walk away after applauding a talented cast on their hard work, feeling satisfied by a plot that you know if you submitted at uni your tutor would write that there was too much going on. What added to the satisfaction was how smoothly the scenes transitioned with the set being pulled on and off using hooked poles with little effort.
This feeling of satisfaction was washed over, however, by annoyance. I don’t care if you’ve paid £5 or £150 for your ticket to any show, you don’t try and sneak out before the curtain call. For the sake of 15 minutes, you are being rude and insulting not only to the actors that have emotionally and physically drained themselves for your entertainment, but the musicians, stage crew and front of house staff by your desperate need to flee the auditorium. Please. Please.