Flushed at Park Theatre
Part of Finsbury Park Theatre’s Say It, Women double bill celebrating female strength through untold stories, writer-director Catherine Cranfield’s play Flushed is an ode to the power of sisterhood.
Two siblings, Marnie (Elizabeth Hammerton) and Jenny (Iona Champain), spend evenings navigating their twenties through conversations in various bathrooms. This setting is signified by a neon sign that reads “toilets” above two commodes beside each other. The minimal set design focuses one’s attention on the siblings’ conversations, which are filled with frequent humorous one-liners.
Hammerton and Champain are effortless on stage, their chemistry natural and expressions very convincing. They go on double dates and banter about it afterwards; Cranfield’s dialogue has a warm and witty realism to it. The two sisters are very close – when Jenny philosophises she perhaps doesn’t want children, Marnie is quick to point out she very much does. However, she is soon diagnosed with Premature Ovarian Insufficiency, another name for early-onset menopause, after it transpires she has not had a period for more than a year.
The narrative is good and the stage set up purposefully stripped-back, but there are some parts that are a little blank. For instance, when the two sisters are sitting on their respective toilets, there is an extended break in which a recording of Blush by Wolf Alice plays.
Jenny tries to reassure her sister, even offering her some of her own eggs in the future. When Marnie starts to worry about when to bring up her diagnosis to potential dates, you truly feel empathy, as she is only young and it can’t be an easy conversation to have.
Cranfield’s writing is sharp, and the closeness between the siblings clear. To explore such a sensitive topic delicately takes skill, which the writer-director has shown with Flushed.
Flushed is at Park Theatre from 12th October until 6th November 2021. For further information or to book visit the theatre’s website here.