‘Overflow’ Overview: The Lavatory Battleground

“Before the age of YouTube tutorials, there was just the club bogs,” Rosie claims. It is in one of them, by yourself, that she is waxing poetic about all those excellent outdated times. Dressed to impress in a black velvet minidress, Rosie is reminiscing about the times when she could get a minute for just about everything — irrespective of whether guidelines on make-up or self-defense, or an instantaneous remedy session — in the women’s room. It was a safe and sound spot to set the evening on pause and get a breather from dancing, flirting and ingesting. Perhaps she could also get back management for a minor bit.

The new Travis Alabanza participate in “Overflow,” which is now streaming from the Bush Theater in London, is about this quest for company and security, listed here inextricably intertwined with identity. (Debbie Hannan’s generation was filmed in the course of a physical run in December that was curtailed when London again heightened limitations.)

Rosie (the transgender actor Reece Lyons) is talking in the earlier tense since issues have altered for all those who, like her, went from applying the men’s place to the women’s space. Back when she nonetheless experienced a stubble and had not yet mastered implementing foundation, a woman the moment welcomed her to a haven devoid of urinals.

But the world has hardened, Rosie notes, and begun to encroach into what applied to be a self-contained bubble. Women’s bathrooms went from a spot of egalitarian acceptance to a battleground in the combat for transgender acceptance and equality.

“Before, I’d go to the women’s lavatory to escape the opportunity fists in the men’s,” Rosie suggests. “But now, the option feels among a fist or a hug that sinks its claws in.” (Does a hug have claws? Superior not pay out much too close notice to the play’s abundant metaphors and similes.)

Alabanza idealizes the old pecking buy in women’s rooms, which were being not always as pleasant to these outside the house feminine and racial norms as the playwright tends to make it audio. But never ever thoughts, menace is at the door now — Rosie’s monologue is interrupted by an intrusive thud. It is simply a startling annoyance at 1st, but the bangs really don’t prevent. They are closing in on the increasingly agitated Rosie.

Lyons is constantly in movement on the circular staging place, in which a purple sink and matching rest room stand out towards white tiles (Max Johns’s established requires only some black mild to fully evoke a disco lair). To no avail: There is no finding out as the knocks grow to be much more insistent, more threatening.

Nonetheless the play doesn’t get significantly spectacular traction, even as Alabanza ups the quasi-thriller ante. Rosie remembers the mysterious rest room floodings that as soon as disrupted her primary college. She miracles irrespective of whether she can definitely belief her childhood pal Charlotte, unassuaged by Charlotte’s claim to be the “ultimate ally.” It’s possible her transgender mate Zee was onto a thing when she suggested Rosie to fall individuals who have allow her down: “They simply cannot disappoint us if they aren’t about us, child.” (When portraying these figures, Lyons does not differentiate them all that perfectly, so it can be complicated.)

The waters are increasing, the lines are drawn: Are you with Rosie or towards her? “Overflow” finishes with a cathartic launch that ought to have been pretty extraordinary are living, when Francis Botu’s audio structure came in at total drive. Maybe the women’s room has served its reason following all: Rosie is ready to get started with a clean up slate.


Through Saturday bushtheatre.co.united kingdom.