The Room, currently onstage at Alexander Upstairs, introduces audiences to smooth-talking classic car dealer, Mike, and sassy sex worker, Lillian. Their humorous yet unsettling tête-à-tête examine questions of love and acceptance —of themselves and of others.
The story of a client who falls in love with a sex worker is not a new one. But, much like the oldest profession in the world, there’s no limit to the stories that it can inspire. Even though the story elements may not be new, the interpretation and presentation of The Room has an undeniable charm.
Touching on themes of love, family and isolation, The Room gives a snapshot of two lonely people caught in a very vulnerable moment.
Set in what could easily pass as either a hotel room or a bedroom, the homogeneous design-style initially helps cloak the play in purposive uncertainty as to the terms of the ‘contract’ being tested.
Billed as a drama with elements of dark comedy, the dark humour struck me as a bit milder than expected, but that takes nothing away from the commitment showed by Brent Palmer (Mike) and Diane Simpson (Lillian) in their engaging portrayal of two broken people. The rapport between Palmer and Simpson makes for lovely moments that range between comedy and devastating frankness. Their intuitive cadence aids in drawing the audience in as Mike and Lillian try and find solace in their defiance of the trepidation of life. Ultimately, The Room reveals that everyone craves acceptance and companionship when faced with a 'life sentence'.
Adrian Collins has given subtle directional depth to The Room, which enables it to ring true in the cutthroat, rat race reality of life.Much like red wine with great promise, I’m excited to see how The Room (written by Palmer) further develops as it gets time to breathe.
You have until 5 October to see The Room at Alexander Upstairs. Book your tickets online at alexanderbar.co.za.