Dust (4 stars)

This article is from 2017


credit: Chloe Wicks

A serious look at the reasons behind a tragic ending

In an unflinching examination of a suicide, this stripped-back monologue inspects the unavoidable practicalities, heart-wrenching decisions and pain involved – and, perhaps surprisingly, the laughter. Alice (Milly Thomas) has just killed herself and this one-woman show sees her spirit witnessing the reactions of her loved ones, and the aftermath of her suicide. As she comments on her grieving family, glimpses of the mental illness that led to her death slowly appear.

Dust revolves around Thomas's strong presence and its cold, literally clinical set: a stainless-steel autopsy table and three full-length mirrors, which illustrate the character's post-mortem introspection and hint at her eating disorder. What could be a bleak experience is, however, peppered with dry humour through Thomas's sharp writing and excellent delivery.

The more Alice reveals about her battles with depression and anorexia, the more emotionally gripping the play becomes, without ever losing its sense of humour. Dust superbly achieves the uneasy combination of a funny, witty study of character, with a real punch to the gut as Alice relives her last moments in an outstanding, visceral performance from Thomas.

Underbelly Cowgate, until 27 Aug (not 15), 4.40pm, £11 (£10).


  • 4 stars

Milly Thomas ‘I've been dead for three days.’ A woman. A suicide. A choice. A fly on the wall. A funeral. A Bakewell tart. A life. A lie. A truth. An ending. Of sorts. Life, Alice thinks, isn't worth living. So, Alice kills herself. Sort of. Forced to watch the aftermath of her suicide and its ripple effect on her family…