Venue: Black Box Studio, Department of Theatre, Film and Television
In the time of increasing awareness of mental health issues that we live in, this play tackles such heavy issues in a unique and rather effective way. The first half entices with its dark humour that merges with absurd scenes at times and distressing flashbacks at others integrating an intriguing backstory for Lisa Jones, played by Anna Jones. Her performance was sometimes lacklustre as she seemed more at home during the more serious points of the play than the humorous ones. At points it felt like watching a John Webster play and being unsure whether to laugh or cry as the humour crosses risky boundaries but does so in a way that it works.
The rest of the cast were impressive, particularly Ben Kawalec with his impressive range of characters and vocal range as the scapegoat. Alice Tones was also particularly funny with her ability to capture a certain character that ironically close to real life making it all the more absurd in the world of Dissocia that had been created. The insecurity guards, played by Adam Bruce and Audun Krüger Abrahamsen, are also worth mentioning for their hilarious performance. The cast’s performance was allowed to shine through partially due to the directors’ (Nick Newman and Sean Bryne) choice to have a mainly minimal set, cleverly drawing attention to the fact that this takes place inside someone’s head, giving the audience more of a sense of what it could be like to live with such a disorder.
The first half was impressive all in all, however the second fell flat. This may have been due to the play itself rather than this specific production however the less than captivating fling back to reality quickly became monotonous after the exciting absurdity that preceded it. Given only fragments of each day, there was a sense that time was passing but that pace was simply too slow. Although the use of camera shots projected onto the backdrop was interesting at first, it could not warrant the focus on the whole second half and ultimately became gimmicky. Furthermore the hints of a distressing backstory for Lisa that were dropped earlier on were left unresolved which is how the whole play felt by the end.
In conclusion, a thrilling start followed by a disappointing finish. The actors captured the tricky tone of the play well so if anything, go for the first half.
Catch The World of Dissocia on Friday 25th November at 7:30pm or Saturday 26th November at 2:30pm.