Overflow, at Bush Theatre.
“The best piss you can have? The pre-emptive one. It’s the piece de resistance of wee-wees. The number one of number ones.”
Travis Alabanza’s Overflow at the Bush Theatre is a brash and, at times, brutally compelling take on the modern politics of public toilets and their denizens. Verily, not since Urinetown graced London stages has a play so enthusiastically taken the proverbial out of, well, having that same proverbial.
We first meet Rosie (Reece Lyons) hiding out in a garish men’s loo, complete with purple stall and sink. After extolling the many virtues of “the pre-emptive piss”, Rosie’s monologue plunges us into a backstory: from the scatological to the psychological, she reaches into the depths of childhood trauma and beyond to explain and underline her current predicament, all the while ensconced in a club’s bathroom stall.
The early light comedy soon gives way to dark and sardonic social commentary. Lyons throws real vigour into relaying Rosie’s harrowing life experiences as a straight transwoman — those in the front seats may want to wear something waterproof.
Debbie Hannan’s direction is pacy, tight and soul-stirring, Alabanza’s script is witty and emphatic — albeit a little clunky when changing gears from the personal to the political — but, ultimately, it is Lyons’ magnetic portrayal that’s the most memorable part of this production.
Overflow, Bush Theatre. Tickets £10 to £20. Until 9 October.
Last Updated 09 September 2021