- Lorna Irvine
- 24 August 2017
Heartbreaking, furious play looking at mental illness
Andy Edwards' play is similar to Nassim Soleimanpour's recent work, in that the supporting actor varies each performance, and is handed a script they have never seen. In this instance, it's the brilliant Nicola Roy, whose characters range from doting girlfriend to angry mother. But the similarity ends there – this is a more complex work.
Main character Ross (Alan Mackenzie) should have an enviable life: he's gregarious, popular, studying a PHD in cosmology, and has a loving partner Fi whom he Skypes regularly (she is teaching English in China). Yet, his mind is starting to unravel. Simple decisions tighten in his chest, like 'a scribble'. Prone to panic attacks, he is suffering from obsessive compulsive disorder, and describes his unquiet mind as being propelled by 'two forces – energy and weight', before words start to fragment.
Irregular interruptions from both actors as themselves and interjections from Edwards himself, as well as director Amy Gilmartin, keep the audience on their toes, and add a self-reflexive tone – Edwards wonders if the play is saying enough, Gilmartin addresses Roy directly.
A disturbing subplot involving child abuse is, somewhat confusingly, thrown in then dispensed with. But Edwards' superb writing and two good performances prove moving and weighty, in a piece that is sure to provoke much discussion.
Assembly Roxy, until 27 Aug (not 22), 3.50pm, £9–11 (£8–£10).