Aug 04

Theatre Review: In the Next Room (The Vibrator Play)

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With a name like The Vibrator Play, how could I not go see it? I was sold the moment I saw the poster, a photo of a barely-clad woman dangling an electrical plug from her fingers. The poster was mildly misleading with its tacit promise of at least some amount of eroticism, but it turned out to be a pleasant misdirection all the same.

TL;DR Go see In the Next Room. Go see it now. Bring someone as dirty-minded as you are or you’ll end up being the only person in the theatre laughing at the best jokes.

The very basic synopsis is this: It is the Victorian era and women all over the world are being plagued by Hysteria, a mysterious illness presenting with restlessness, headaches, and (I assume) the unstoppable inclination to paw and whimper at any male in the room. Dr. Givings (Jeff Cummings) has invented a hand-held device to stimulate the female nether regions until the buildup of liquid in the womb is released, curing the symptoms. You know, for like a couple days maybe. His saucy wife Catherine (Jennifer Sue Johnson) is really super curious about all the noises coming from his operating theatre. Other things Catherine is really super curious about include a patient, Sabrina (Deborah King,) Sabrina’s husband (Michael Patten,) and a visiting artist (Conner Toms.)

Catherine is kind of a whore a saucy little minx.

For a play about the Victorian era, In the Next Room contained a surprising amount of naughty, naughty allusions. There were hints of masochism, lesbianism, butt sex, more lesbianism, electrical play, lesbian threesomes, and outdoor sex. I’m sure there was more that I’m forgetting. Despite all this it not only remained true to the era, but something even someone who isn’t a pervert could enjoy. All the racier parts were done in sly, tongue-in-cheek moments that one would miss if one weren’t paying close attention.

There was a major TL;DR moment near the end during which my mind wandered to how I might modify a Hitachi wand to have a pistol grip (like you do,) and the end left so many threads dangling that when the lights went up at first I thought we were entering a second Intermission, but the humor more than made up for these small niggles.

In the Next Room is playing at the ACT Theatre until August 28th. Buy your tickets in person after 1:00 on the day of the show and they’re Pay-What-You-Can! (That doesn’t mean you should cheap out. Honestly pay what you can and support a great production.)

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