The Psychosocial Gathering
The Spaces on the Mile
15 – 16 August
I arrived at this production with high hopes. I`ve seen a number of plays about mental illness on the fringe, as it is a subject close to my heart, and all of them have had something unique to say. However, as the piece unfolded it was clear that it was not about mental illness per-say but more about the more common problem of failure to move on, or `Mental Block` as it’s referred to here. A far more common problem but one no less interesting given an imaginative approach. Unfortunately it is in this area I found the play sadly lacking. Having most of the performers representing different aspects of the protagonist’s mind seemed a little crude and obvious. It was also difficult at times ascertaining what each element of the mind was supposed to symbolize. The characters of Hero and Mnemosyne (dictionary anyone?) were vague at best. Although a word must be said about the excellent character of Wisdom. A loafing man child who insists on total silence as he drawls out another nugget of Taoist irrelevance.
In fact, on the whole, the performances were largely excellent. The physicality and rhythm were a little `Theatre School` at times but it kept the whole piece pacy and rarely dull. The main problem for me was that nothing new or particularly insightful was being said. So what I was left with was a kind of lightweight psycho-pantomime with the occasional snigger worthy gag. Theatre has made me laugh and cry and see the world differently but I’m afraid this did none of those. But then I might be totally wrong, the crowd seemed to be lapping it up, frequently in raucous laughter. For the first half at least… THREE STARS
Reviewer : Steven Vickers