Review: In the Next Room, St James Theatre

The full title of this play is In the Next Room or the Vibrator Play and the use of the vibrator to cure “hysteria” is at its centre. However, it is about much more than that, an examination of the role of women in late 19th Century New York and of attitudes to science and art. It is also a very funny, uplifting play about love. The playwright, Sarah Ruhl, is new to me but this is beautifully written and superbly acted, particularly by Natalie Casey as  Catherine Givings and Jason Hughes as her husband, Dr Givings, who uses the new device to produce “paroxysms” in women and the occasional man. Despite the slightly cheeky poster, the women are as well covered by their voluminous undergarments as they are in their full costumes, although the subject matter is definitely adult.

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