Reviewed by Joan Tupponce
Firehouse Theatre’s current production of The Boy in the Bathroom touches on something all humans share: varying levels of fear and anxiety. For most, these emotions are sporadic, surfacing only at times of major stress or frustration. But for some they are pervasive, imprisoning them in their own self-made jail.
The Boy in the Bathroom tells the story of David, a young man with obsessive compulsive disorder and a laundry list of fears, who has been living in his mother’s bathroom for a year, too afraid to face the world. His mother enables his behavior by slipping food and reading materials under the door for him. He lets his irrational behavior control him until a young girl, Julie, comes to the house to help his mother out after she takes a nasty fall and the two form a bond.
Director Adam Ferguson has done a marvelous job in casting this production with actors that help fuel each other’s performance. His wise direction and staging give this show its tenderness as well as its candor. The three actors on stage are each compelling in their own right.
Rebecca Turner plays the young, eager-to-explore-the-world Julie with great energy and enthusiasm. She gives Julie moments of maturity that are honest and raw.
Catherine Shaffner is a tour-de-force as David’s mother, Pam. She nails the self-hatred that has been fueled by Pam’s relationships with men as well as the fear she has over losing her child to the world. Her stand-up performance is award winning.
Denver Crawford lives the role of David, accurately portraying the anxiety that cripples David as well as the desire he has to overcome it. His acting is filled with emotion and honesty. He is mesmerizing to watch.
Tennessee Dixon’s sparse, industrial style set, and Robby Williams’ lighting design are spot on. Both add layers to the production.
The Boy in the Bathroom will be an eye-opener for anyone who doesn’t understand the fears that can take over someone’s mind. Its message is honest, tender, emotional and often humorous. And, the acting is superb. Recommended for teens and up due to some language and sexual references, it’s a show everyone should see. It runs through September 4 at Firehouse Theatre. For tickets and showtimes, click here.