"From sitting in at dress rehearsals, and having discussions with cast and crew, the time and energy spent on the play is self-evident"Odette Barber

Lucy Kirkwood’s Mosquitos, opens Tuesday night at the ADC Theatre. A production run entirely by freshers from cast and crew all the way through to publicity. Set during the Higgs Boson breakthrough, the play revolves around two contrasting sisters, who represent the harsh divide between the arts and science. Alice (Lara Cosmetatos), a Geneva-based scientist working at CERN stands as a stark contrast to Jenny (Hannah Ramezani), her unacademic sister, driven by instinct and impulse, a separate paradigm to the world of physics and rationality. When a catastrophe strikes the mundane reality of Jenny, she moves to her sisters side in Geneva for support, and thus the two worlds of science and art collide.

The problematic relationship between Alice and Jenny is then shifted by the presence of Luke, Alice’s autistic son, who struggles with the chaos that ensues in his family when Jenny arrives. Seeking at great difficulty to empathise with the dynamics of the relationships around him, Matt Paul, has worked hard in his performance to show the complex and unique aspects of Luke’s character. Walking in the shoes of a multi-faceted individual, Matt put great thought into how to do justice to a character with autism, whilst also ensuring that that autism does not define the character of Luke. He has read NHS articles on autism, and most importantly spent time during rehearsals to “feel" his way through the elements of Luke’s character.

"Mosquitos seeks to portray the female experience of modern life, and battles with the modern politics of gender"

In a dramatic turn of events, Mosquitos seeks to portray the female experience of modern life, and battles with the modern politics of gender, which so often alienates and marginalises women from the field of science. The recurring character of Karen, Alice and Jenny’s mother, is played by Emiliana Petrone. Karen portrays this plight, as she is not recognised for her worthy achievements due to her gender. Petrone noted the challenge she had to “physically inhabit an older person”, but also the fun she had playing such an acerbic character.

Similarly, Hannah Ramezani fell in love with her character, as Jenny is constantly made to feel stupid, and is even described as being ‘epically thick’. Yet, she is not stupid, rather an incredibly witty character (which, she joked, evokes life as a fresher in Cambridge). The portrayal of women in Mosquitos is thus a common experience of femininity which resounds with modern life and the struggle of women in STEM fields to gain their rightful recognition, as well as the difficulty of women in art and creative fields to be recognised as intelligent in a different way too.

"With amazing technicality, the production runs smoothly, with beautiful custom designed stage"

From sitting in on a dress rehearsal and having discussions with cast and crew, the time and energy spent on the play is self-evident. Director Odette Baber joked that directing the play was a form of revision, as the production depicts a “really taut family drama interspersed with really incredible philosophical meditations on the origins of the universe and what it might be like to create a parallel universe”. Careful attention has been made to ensure that the play is true to the script of Lucy Kirkwood, with little dialogue changed, and yet the cast and crew have “made it their own”.

The original stage directions of Lucy Kirkwood have been used as inspiration for a new-take, and subtle aspects of character and relationships have been made their own. In particular, the enigmatic character of the Boson has been subtly reworked, acting as a sort of ‘puppet master’ so to speak. As a developing comical character, the Boson (played by Jimmy Moon) is in control of facile screen changes, aided by light and sound technicians Dmitry Bashtanov and Alice Chernaik, who have found working on the production incredibly rewarding, and fun experience.


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With amazing technicality, the production runs smoothly, with beautiful custom designed stage, the work of first year set designer Roisin Kennan. In a discussion with crew, it was highlighted humorously how careful planning and timings have been thought out so that the play is not one with “incredible scenes, heartfelt monologues, and then a black out, with some people moving a table off”.

After a critically acclaimed run at the National Theatre, starring Olivia Colman and Olivia Williams, Mosquitoes now comes to a Cambridge stage, an entirely 1st year production which is “incredibly diverse”. Reconciling the falsely segregated worlds of Science and Art, and with a keen focus on women in STEM-subjects, Mosquitoes is now more relevant than ever, and not one to miss.

Mosquitoes is running from the 13th to the 17th of November at 7:45 in the ADC.

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