The role of the ‘other woman’ in popular culture over the years has tended to sit at either end of a spectrum. Typically speaking she is either sexy, fearless, bordering on cold-hearted, a temptress, or she is meek, downtrodden, obsessed with a man who she knows will never leave his wife for her and suffering from low-self-esteem.
Lemy (Aoife Boyle) is very much in the latter camp. When we first meet her and her love interest James (Seamus Dillane) we quickly establish that they are – or were – having an affair, and that James has now tired of Lemy and is returning to his wife and baby. James is cold – polishing off his Pret lunch while he ends his affair to enable him to get straight back to the office – while Lemy is clearly anxious and unsure, swinging from begging James to stay to screaming for him to leave. The power-dynamic is clear, but while both Dillane and Boyle give strong performances, the dialogue is a little disappointing. The conversation is repetitive, and while Mosquito bills mental health as a theme, the topic receives little exploration beyond James making a snide comment about Lemy being a nightmare when she hasn’t been taking her medication. Boyle’s portrayal of Lemy makes evident her distress at James’s cruelty and lack of empathy for her, and when he eventually leaves, the audience is left to wonder what will become of her.
Mosquito has no interval (it runs to around an hour) but in the second act we find that three years have passed when James and Lemy cross paths again. I don’t want to give any spoilers but will say that I saw echoes of J B Priestley’s ‘An Inspector Calls’ – which I found quite enjoyable – but that I’ve got some doubts about the medical research that may have gone into this drama. I’d also have to reiterate what I felt in act one, though – both actors deliver stronger performances than the scripts they’ve been given.
This was my first visit to Seven Dials Playhouse, and it certainly won’t be my last – the staff are charming, the bar is beautifully air conditioned, and the theatre space is perfect for an intimate drama. Mosquito wasn’t quite my bag but does have its charm and runs until Saturday 23rd July. https://www.sevendialsplayhouse.co.uk/shows/mosquito
Reviewer: Zoё Meeres
Reviewed: 21st July 2022
North West End UK Rating: ★★★