The Butterfly Room

A hungover girl wakes up in a stranger’s house and things start to get a bit weird. The Butterfly Room follows the story of Ollie and Valentina who find themselves in an interesting - if not entirely believable - situation. Dark, poignant with some extraordinarily tense moments The Butterfly Room contains some great performances from a young and talented company. Written, directed and acted by Dilaila Colasuono and Louis Fox (who together make up Feel Theatre) it is impossible not to be impressed at the creativity of the pair. However, although the production itself is superb I am not convinced of the reality of the Butterfly Room. The plot is underdeveloped and at points the script deliberately appears to shy away from tenser moments meaning the piece loses momentum. We are never given an explanation of the characters’ motives hence the action doesn’t entirely make sense and it becomes difficult to empathise with either Ollie or Valentina. This all renders the piece rather unbelievable. A shame, as the acting and direction is strong.

The action begins with Valentina, a beautiful young girl who wakes up on the sofa of Ollie’s flat. Ollie informs her that he found her outside a club, drunk out of her mind and without any friends in sight. The only plausible thing he could have done, he tells her, was to take her back to his home. Creepy already, it is unclear as to why Valentina doesn’t automatically attempt to vacate the premises - and fast. If Ollie’s intentions are not premeditated it is in these first few minutes that the audience must be convinced of the plausibility of the situation to come, yet Valentina barely struggles. Violence was seen later in the play but I am shocked that neither Colasuono nor Fox thought it necessary to depict a physical struggle immediately; it is entirely unbelievable that someone would simply retreat to a corner without attempting to put up any kind of fight. This original ‘acceptance of her fate’ distanced me from Valentina and her plight.

The violence later in the play was fantastically well directed and entirely believable, as was Valentina’s transformation; interesting dynamics come out to play in the light of Stockholm Syndrome. However the ending of the play felt contrived and sloppy, Ollie’s character appeared more bizarre than ever and the writing slipped into cliché.

The Butterfly Room is an impressive debut, however more work needs to be done on characterisation and plot before the piece becomes the emotional rollercoaster it has the potential to be. I look forward to how it develops.

Reviews by Zoe Hunter Gordon

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Performances

The Blurb

Two people. One room. See them unravel. 'Brilliantly raw. I was constantly engaged and continuously surprised. Intelligent. Funny. Fascinatingly dark. Each time I saw it I discovered another piece of the puzzle.' (Natalie Scott, The Cockpit Theatre).

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