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When We Have Sufficiently Tortured Each Other – National Theatre (Dorfman)

It made a lot of headlines, but what it was that caused an audience member to “faint” during a preview of Martin Crimp’s new play at the National is hard to fathom.

True, there’s plenty of weird sado-masochism on display in the double garage where the story unfolds, but it’s no worse than anything you might stumble across on Netflix.

Maybe it was the sight of Cate Blanchett dressed as a maid squirting the Audi parked on the stage with shaving foam. Surely some contravention of motoring etiquette.

Blanchett is, of course, the reason that tickets for this sold-out show were allotted by ballot. She’s the reason that the queue for day tickets starts at about 3am in sub-zero temperatures (it’s true, I know someone who did it).

She and Stephen Dillane play a couple who – along with some invited friends – act out an S&M fantasy based upon Samuel Richardson’s 18th Century novel Pamela.

The sexual power shifts constantly between the two, both of whom are in stockings and suspenders. Genders, clothes, wigs and bodily fluids are swapped. Blood is spilt.

The intimate Dorfman Theatre is perfect for this kind of stuff. Under Katie Mitchell’s direction, it’s thrilling to see Blanchett and Dillane giving it their all up close. Jessica Gunning is excellent too in the Mrs Jewkes housekeeper role.

But the sexual power play just goes on and on. It feels like a 10 minute drama workshop stretched out to two hours.

I was desperately hoping for the garage sex games to be interrupted by a neighbour coming round to borrow a ladder.

And I don’t mean one in Dillane’s stockings.

Original Death Rabbit – Jermyn Street Theatre

“Mental health is a really difficult issue.” It’s a line you hear a lot in Original Death Rabbit. It’s the one you take home with you. And not only because it’s delivered by a vodka-swigging woman in a bunny onesie.

Rose Heiney’s play, which started life on BBC Radio 4, is getting its stage premiere at Jermyn Street Theatre, the perfect venue for such an intimate monologue about a woman’s struggle with internet fame and social media addiction.

Kimberley Nixon plays the Original Death Rabbit of the title. She’s instantly likeable in her stained pink onesie (with ears) as she tells her webcam the story of how she became a meme. For 90 minutes the theatre audience become her thousands of anonymous online followers.

It’s sad, funny, tragic – and not necessarily in that order. The onesie, we learn, was given to her as an ironic present after she wrote a 5,000 word university paper lambasting Playboy bunnies.

Nixon is brilliant, gliding expertly from jokes about Richard Curtis films into much darker territory.  Her excitement is tangible as she talks about joining Twitter and “feels godlike” as she quickly attracts followers. She becomes “wired on approval”. The flashes of anger and pain, when they emerge, feel real.

Louie Whitemore’s set is wonderfully detailed messy flat, complete with movie posters, books and assorted vodka bottles. Nixon uses it to the full. One patch of wall even doubles as a laptop screen.

The day after press night I was passing a pub and noticed a poster in the window advertising a “Onesie Party”. The picture showed a woman in a pink bunny outfit.

My advice: don’t go to that, hop along to this instead.

Original Death Rabbit is at the Jermyn Street Theatre, London until 9 February