The collision of these two sisters, one caught up in grief and guilt and the other in her work, is reflected in the Hadron Collider’s inaugural test — a beam of protons being smashed together to simulate a Big Bang-like eruption. Subplots include Alice’s son Luke (Joseph Quinn) being bullied at school, and their mother considering assisted suicide.
Interwoven with the lives of the two sisters is a lecture from Luke’s father, evocatively called ‘The Boson’, explaining the potential ways in which the universe collapses. It’s a great opportunity for Rufus Norris and Designer Katrina Lindsay to offer some astounding visuals, and the production overall is tightly executed.
Kirkwood’s script is like an ambitious scientific exploration to unearth poetic meaning from science, kernels of truth akin to the Higgs-Boson particle. She notes the violent language that science evokes (‘collision’, ‘trigger’), and rightly reflects on the power science has to both fuel hope and progress as well as elicit suspicion and fear. But Kirkwood’s script lacks a sturdy and incisive method, and consequently feels long and overworked. It throws up so many variables that it’s uncertain whether any meaningful conclusions can be made.
Except, of course, that the acting is just superb. Williams’s Alice is stoic and scrupulous, warm but tightly wound. Colman’s Jenny is fantastic — desperate and needy at times, defensive and quick at others. She’s the wittiest of the bunch, retaliating with jibes and jabs. She astounds in a surprisingly heartfelt scene consoling Luke after a particularly cruel prank.
Kirkwood does offer some eureka moments, but with all of the chaos surrounding them, they become hard to absorb. Nevertheless, Mosquitoes is a sweeping, smart, and often funny drama about the force of two seemingly insignificant objects flying into each other.
|Mosquitoes, National Theatre review
|National Theatre, South Bank, London, SE1 9PX | MAP
18 Jul 17 – 28 Sep 17, 7:30 PM – 10:00 PM
|£15 - £65
|Click here to book via the National Theatre