The Eradication of Schizophrenia in Western Lapland (3 stars)

This article is from 2014.

The Eradication of Schizophrenia in Western Lapland

Modernist experiment by theare company Ridiculusmus splits Edinburgh Festival Fringe audience

This piece, by acclaimed theatre company Ridiculusmus, employs a theatrical form which will recalls the heyday of Dadaism, the avant-garde and absurdist art movement of the early twentieth century which inspired much of the last century's performance and sound art experiments.

The audience are ushered to two seating areas at opposite sides of the room. The stage, which sits between the divided audience, is itself divided by a series of windows with closed blinds and a door connecting the two performance areas.

The audiences (which switch sides halfway through) watch interconnecting plays in medical and domestic settings. The bleeding of the two simultaneous plays into one another reflects not the common misconception that schizophrenia is a condition of split personality, but rather the innovative psychotherapy techniques which are credited with having wiped out the condition in the titular region of northern Finland.

The piece is nicely acted and wryly funny, at times. However, it is also, paradoxically, too chaotic and too clinical to make the most of its avant-garde form.

Summerhall, 560 1581, until 24 Aug (not 18), noon, £14 (£12).

The Eradication of Schizophrenia in Western Lapland

  • 3 stars

Ridiculusmus Theatre presents an experimental family drama about recovery from schizophrenia, simultaneously staging two interconnected stories.


1. David Woods13 Aug 2014, 2:08pm Report

What a pity you didn't have the headspace to engage more fully with our show, or do a basic spellcheck before publishing - increasingly I am finding the week two audiences here (including critics) the equivalent of shopaholics in a January sale, craving sugar hits when we have such a tasty curly kale salad for you. Perhaps have a few days off and come back - happy to arrange the best seat in the house for you.

2. Kurt Zarniko13 Aug 2014, 8:03pm Report

My experience of this production is different to you. I admit I like the disorientation very much, but I want to note the legacy of realism here that is up-ending and creeping into the experimental-radical. If we detect a historical category such as the avant garde but also declare, rigidly, it that it is not fulfilled we are bound by our own limited and flawed categorisation; and this production seeks to escape, I believe it. The realism that is the foundation (e.g. the family soup) is a platform but it receives a thorough blender here. Imagine Wendy Craig in Butterfiles (1970s sit cum) has actually escaped her oppressive male household and (in spite of her advancing years) is become a radical 21st century artistic smoothie herself. This for me is the delicious flavour of this work. It is the infinity of the atomised mind, the multiplicity of dialogism, a sprawling network that o'erleaps and outstrips the simple taxonomic notion of avant grade, which as we no, Mark, is constrained by relations to boundaries of time and space, by its intellectual relation to Hegelian idealism, to historical materialism etc etc. I can also offer Cultural Chaperone service if you would like to meet for a chat over coffee to discuss this. Your review is so thirlling, stimulating - so thank you. @KurtZarniko

Post a comment

RSS feed of these comments