Should theatre be therapy for its performers? Well, not primarily. It should be primarily for its audience. Otherwise it’s not theatre; it’s drama therapy. So where does this one come out?
This is a show, devised and performed by Joshua Fancourt and Kieran Lane, about the extremes of depression – and suicide; or suicidal thought processes anyway. Isn’t that a bit gloomy?
Well, of course; but here it’s very lively at the same time: the two performers representing the two sides of the see-sawing internal dialogue of an agonised depressive at the end of his tether.
So it’s not so much about self-pity, as about a violent mental struggle, vividly brought to life in the tightly choreographed physicality of the performers’ movements – sometimes quiet, almost tenderly mirroring each other, sometimes explosively locked in combat.
The show makes its point that depression is a mental illness, and like physical illnesses it can sometimes be fatal; that pills can be an anaesthetic for a while but are not a cure; but that the symptoms can be overcome – while at the same time being an exciting spectacle rather than a dry lecture. Neat trick.
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Reviewer: John Christopher Wood | Rating: **** Four Stars