BWW Review: STUFF, The Painkiller Project
Bitter Pill Theatre's contribution to the lockdown content audiences get to enjoy for free comes in the form of The Painkiller Project, a podcast that edges towards radio drama.
The company are keeping their pledge to produce new writing even while theatres around the world are closed down by opening submissions for the scheme once a fortnight, with the winning play being produced for all podcasting platforms.
Alison Carr kicks off the series with Stuff, directed by Max Elton and starring Sophie Thompson - last seen on stage at the Old Vic flanking Andrew Scott in Present Laughter. The whimsical, absurdist vignette sees a bathtub falling through a floor and a clash of lifestyles. Thus, two neighbours meet for the first time and faced with a pickle as they briefly try to understand their respective values.
Stuff tickles the imagination and curiosity of its listeners, depicting a farcical scenario that makes little to no sense at all. In five minutes, Carr dips her toes into a fleeting reflection on identity and obsession, using the negative space of her audience's ability to paint the scene to her advantage.
The language is peppered with specificity, but leaves enough room to add our own details and colour to the situation with Elton's pacing. Quick, tight, and frankly bizarre, this bite-size snippet unquestionably and unpretentiously amuses and entertains.