REVIEW: Lost in Thought (Underbelly) ★★★

I really like the premise of being stuck in a toilet freaking out when you’re on a date (we’ve all been there) and the lovely thing about this script is it doesn’t go in the direction you think assume it will. In fact it takes a very dark turn. Lovely!

We meet Felicity in the toilet, and the loo roll and story unravels about Felicity’s unravelling and her mental health issues which, it transpires, she has battled from being very young, had started to overcome and had a huge setback. In a loo. It’s a really touching, heart-warming story, very real, very visceral and you often feel like you’re intruding in someone’s mind – which is the best kind of theatre.

Lucy Danser’s writing is usually exceptional and this is very much the case here. It’s gentle and incisive and funny and dark all at once. Sadly the script is let down by some quite loose direction. I don’t see the point of having actors on stage who then face upstage against the wall as if to depict they’re not there – we know they’re there, we can see them. It’s a bit like the old adage of ‘don’t have a gun on stage and not use it’. So if it’s a two hander, it needs to be a two hander – even if just the actor not talking gives or allows focus.

I also didn’t get the sense the characters knew who they were talking to – it can never be the audience, we shouldn’t be part of the story. If the actors know who the character is talking to, it then gives them a really solid anchor point and something to play against, rather than the insecurity that appeared during this performance. The section that was most solid for the actors was towards the end, during the reveal and resolution and the chemistry between these two performers really stood out as Felicity finally admitted her issues to her mum. I would have really liked to see the same level of engagement with the rest of the exposition.

The set and sound design were wonderfully simple and both added a lot to the show – in particular the abstract toilet setting with the many many loo rolls was delightful. All in all a brilliant script and lovely story, but some fairly basic things will lift it from being a good show to a great one.

Reviewed by Lou Lou Mason


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