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BWW Review: OVERFLOW, Bush Theatre

The first on stage, in person production from the Bush Theatre, who had to close its doors in March, alongside other UK theatres, due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

BWW Review: OVERFLOW, Bush Theatre

BWW Review: OVERFLOW, Bush Theatre When Rosie is confined and cornered into a flooding toilet cubicle, she is determined to rescue herself from the situation for once. Confronted by a lurking danger outside, she finds solace and tranquillity within the four walls of a space she has frequented many times. This particular bathroom may not be the most familiar, but the essence of it is. These places have become catalysts for new conversations, the forging of friendships and the hiding from enemies. Rosie has experienced a lot in them.

However, this time, Rosie is alone. She refuses to phone her friend Charlotte for help. But with her panic rising, is it possible for her to keep her head above water? Travis Alabanza's new play, directed by Debbie Hannan, is an interrogative look at women's bathrooms - questioning who is allowed in and who is kept out.

Reece Lyons plays Rosie with a formidable force, commanding the attention of the room for the entire hour. Moving about the entire auditorium with the utmost freedom, she is fully in control of the action and performs the text in a way that highly entertains. Alabanza's script provides lots of moments for laughter, which Lyons takes in her stride. She jokes a lot, but not only is this a humorous piece of action, it feels like a rallying cry for change - with Lyons demanding to be heard and understood.

Hannan's direction allows Lyons to be incredibly playful, and this idea works a treat because Max Johns' set has so many possibilities for exploration. The design is vibrant and eye-catching and is also an invitation to cause mischief. As the piece goes on, the stage proves malleable enough to deconstruct and make a mess of - which is very exciting to watch.

The play marks the first on stage, in person production from the Bush Theatre, who had to close its doors in March, alongside other UK theatres, due to the COVID-19 pandemic. And the fact that this, a story written by a trans writer centring a trans narrative, played by a trans lead, is the first offering from such a high profile venue, is so important. It's a call to every organisation out there to be more dynamic and inclusive with their programming.

In a world where trans voices are being silenced and attacked, Overflow's presence in the world feels vital.

Overflow at the Bush Theatre until 16 January 2021

Photo: Sharron Wallace


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