Theater Review: “In The Next Room or The Vibrator Play” @ Woolly Mammoth

Mid-way through Sarah Ruhl’s In the Next Room or The Vibrator Play, now running at the Wooly Mammoth Theatre Company, two characters discuss electricity’s potential to revolutionize society. They live in the late nineteenth century, when light bulbs were still in their infancy, and speculate electricity might illuminate entire cities, or allow future generations to hear recordings of their ancestors. It’s funny, then, that the only other electric device seen on stage is a vibrator parading as a medical instrument. With a modern take on a bygone era, Ruhl’s orgasmic comedy focuses on antiquiated sexual mores, and the emotional turmoil it causes members of either sex. Moans and screams earn big laughs, and an emotional undercurrent pares away misguided attitudes toward intimacy and love.

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