So here I am in the foyer of the Dorfman. Is there a more wretched theatre foyer in England? You only need a vase of artificial lilies and it is the perfect funeral parlour. The food on offer is of the worst kind ie nonexistent but for a solitary brownie and some kind of sandwich which looks old. If the Park in Islington can offer such a buzz and good food why can't this place? They can carry stuff round from the Kitchen surely ? I'm not gonna start on the car park. Ok I will - no paying machines on the Dorfman side. Honestly this is like some kind of cultural desert reminiscent of the old Soviet buildings. Sorry to offend the Soviets amongst us. I'm early cos meeting someone. Let us hope the two Olivias make up for their incarceration in this dire apology for a theatre. It was better before Mr Dorfman emptied his piggy bank.
I'm home now so a few thoughts. I agree with some of what has already been said - too many ideas. The play about responsibility, the dead child and taking the blame within a family context of two sisters who are different is a good one. The play about the collider and humanity creating a new world is not. We can all write the essay making the connections if we wanted to but in the end it is the drama that counts and she has undermined her actual dramatic instincts which are good by including the unnecessary science. We don't need to know what happens to the boy. We don't need the creepy mad scientist husband or the inexplicable screens or the circular thing that comes down or the end of the world stuff. It isn't dramatic. It is spectacle and frankly we can go to a decent disco for the coloured lights. Did anyone see The Herd, the Rory Kinnear play? It covered similar ground better. Arcadia anyone? Deeply superior and science woven in. Copenhagen anyone? Ok, nuff comparisons. If the words don't come from the character then why are they there? Narrators seldom work. When she got two people talking it was almost good. I think the boy, Joseph Quinn, was superb. His "you don't listen" best bit of the play, no? The Olivias were v good. OW had an underdeveloped character to perform which is hard and OC made it look easy which is also hard.
Incidentally there was a bit of a tone issue. The scene between the boy and the girl was funny and then shocking in a different way to the rest of the play. Good writing but not in the same play as the rest. Anyone agree? I left wondering why this was at the NT? It wasn't good enough. Having said all that, I'm glad I saw this.
Having just come back from the meandering disappointment of 'Against', even the flawed parts of Mosquitoes had a verve to them which held my attention, but I agree that the Science Bits should have been hacked back or maybe cut altogether - they seemed very much influenced by a similar, more simply achieved device in Escaped Alone, but it was such a shift and barrage of information after the human, emotional scenes, and I'd have preferred it if they'd have let those more engaging scenes sink in. I liked the ambition of it, but felt they were dramatically misplaced (I think I made a comment a while ago that the obvious expense spent may have played against dramatic instinct here, when it came to editing!)
At the risk of being accused of o-level English essay stuff again, I thought the sexting part was very much of a piece with the theme of technology vs human contact and viruses that had been running since the opening scene - Jenny's preference for instinctive childbirth over interventions, Luke born by Caesarian then untouchable in an incubator, his attempts at human contact reduced to the internet and sex via mobile. I liked the shift from awkward and pathetically comic to shocking - I heard people going 'oh no!' and gasping behind me (ditto when he called Jenny a murderer) and thought the play could have had more of those moments - for example, in the messy cafe scene - if they'd stripped it back in places. Tonally, I think they'd upped the comedy since the slightly more naturalistically-played preview I saw, though the version you've seen is 10 mins shorter than it was last week, so maybe it has changed some more.
And yes, Joseph Quinn is excellent - one of the best young actors I've seen recently (the other is is co-star from Wish List, Erin Doherty, who is on at the Young Vic - sold out- and Old Vic soon). If you have Netflix, check out his debut in Dickensian - it's really something.
I think this had more good than bad. I don't think it's a "womans' play" just because the two leads are female.
The mix of science and personal stories was at times awkward but, for me, made the science more palatable than say, Copenhagen, where the supposed drama of the context of the meeting between the two scientists was rather lost amongst the dry science.
Perhaps the difference in tone between the two halves was problematic, the Boson scenes a bit exaggerated which clashed with the realism of the battle of wits between the two sisters and their mum (quite Tennessee Wlliams in a way, that aspect).
I've read comments here that it has "too many ideas", which is perhaps a valid criticism, but on the other hand it is refreshing for a playwright to throw out ideas. Perhaps, I suggest, there were "too mnay stories"?
65% for me. Somewhere between 3 and 3.5 out of 5. I wouldn;t discourage anyone from seeing it.
Very short notice I know but I now have a spare ticket for today’s platform with the two Olivias today at 3pm. No payment necessary as the ticket would otherwise be going to waste. Please message if you’re interested.