Reviewed by Harry Bligh
This play by Act One has to be one of the most dynamic performance I’ve witnessed. It could make you laugh, gasp and even shed a tear. Like a metaphorical aftertaste, it really made you think and question yourself when the play had ended.
It starts off quite strange. We are introduced to a scared looking girl, Lisa, in a strange place, it turns out to be her apartment, but the audience know its not a warm, cosy place.
The set design and lighting were really good, very simplistic as always but it was easy to distinguish between different environments and some very small details, like the CDs hung up in decoration gave the stage an eery feel, I felt a hint of ‘The Mighty Boosh’ in the set and lighting design. (that’s a compliment)
The first scene can only be described as bonkers. Characters that are comical and controversial. From ‘Insecurity guards’ (This was an excellent pun), to a ‘scape-goat’ who attempts to rape our main character (I did find this rather distasteful, perhaps not my sort of humour). And the lost property office which was bizarre but really was laugh-out-loud comedy.
The second scene is a country mile away from the humour and absurdity of the first. Curtains open to a hospital bed setting, Lisa is the patient and we soon find out she is and has been suffering with some kind of mental health disorder and that Dissocia is a made up place in her imagination. We are never told explicitly what her condition is but we get the impression it is serious and affects others around her.
I thought that perhaps the characters in ‘Dissocia’ may have been based on the numerous hospital staff that we see treating her and giving her medicine, I’m not sure if this was deliberate because of course the Act One cast played numerous characters in all their plays, but if so, its a very subtly and clever ploy.
I am a huge fan of comedy, especially the slapstick and silly stuff. I found myself laughing so much at the first scene (especially the lost property office with Elis Williams playing such a funny character). This meant the second scene, with it being such a long way from the first, made me initially very confused and I didn’t really appreciate the tone. When the play ended, I looked back and realised that actually the contrast between the first and second plays paints a powerful picture of the intense struggle Lisa faces and the severity of this type of illness has on people.
I must say this play has stuck with me, hats off to the Director, Han and your wonderful cast.
This is my final review of Act One for the Xpress Radio blog, I have seen such powerful and diverse performances come from this society and I can’t wait to see what the future has to offer.
With thanks to James Cole-Ezen for this opportunity