Gabrielle’s Bells: In the Next Room (or the Vibrator Play)

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by Gabrielle Fuller

WHAS11.com

Posted on January 31, 2012 at 9:34 AM

Updated Tuesday, Jan 31 at 9:42 AM

Louisville, Ky. (WHAS11)- In the Next Room (or the Vibrator Play) is a 2010 Tony-nominated play about love, health discoveries, and curiosity. This hilarious story takes place in the 19th century where a young doctor has invented a cure for “hysteria”, which proves to be very effective, maybe even a bit too effective. While the show was wonderfully received by the audience, this is not a show for the faint of heart, or anyone younger than their mid-20s.

Walking into the Pamela Brown Theatre it is clear that everyone curious about what they are going to see. Most people have heard the plot line of this distinctive play, but upon seeing the stage, the curiosity begins to grow wondering how the show will be put on. There is a small doctor’s office with a patient table, a desk, and a funny looking contraption to the left of the stage. Connected to the room by a door frame is the living room, which is beautifully decorated with a blue leather couch, a piano, and other pieces that show the time period of this play. Behind the front door is a stair well, and off to the right of the stage is the baby nursery.

The only thing that occupies the wife’s thoughts are the different ideas she has about what is going on in the doctor’s office. During most of the show the doctor’s wife is determined to figure out what is happening in the next room, even though her husband has forbid it. With the machine put to good use from its patients, the mysterious ongoing appointments that keep the wife uninformed prove to be a test of her will. The consequences of never knowing may drive her crazy, but will finding out the secret make her happy or even more miserable than before? With an unexpected ending, this provocative show has a finale that kept the audience talking all the way to their cars.

The entire show is peppered with jaw-dropping action, and side-splitting double entendres that fill the theatre. There was such a high volume of laughter that most people left with sore cheeks. The innocence to the language and sexual discovery make this play not raunchy, but a naïve depiction of what society was like before it became over-sexualized.

I give this show 4 out of 5 bells. The strong sexual content excludes younger adults and people uncomfortable with the topic of sexuality from being able to enjoy this play. Even though the topic is adult, I immensely enjoyed the performance from the authentic portrayal of the actors. One really felt like they were watching some sort of hidden film footage from the 19th century home. I highly recommend this show for adults who want to laugh until they cry, or want a good conversation topic to tell at your next dinner party.

To view audience reactions to this show, just click on the video player above.

In the Next Room (or the Vibrator Play), is being performed now through February 18 at Actors Theatre in Louisville. For ticket information call 502-584-1205, or go online to ActorsTheatre.org.

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