Thursday, 14 May 2015

Normal/Madness

Assembly Roxy, Edinburgh
Three stars

It's a mad world for Kirsty, the young woman at the centre of Fiona Geddes' solo play, revived following its Edinburgh Festival Fringe run for a series of dates to tie in with Mental Health Awareness Week. One minute she's quoting French novelist Marguerite Duras regarding the unhinged proclivities of mums everywhere, the next she's rewinding her own back pages beside the seaside or else taking a phone call from her own mother to prove Duras' point. Somewhere inbetween she's taking second and third opinions from a conveyor belt of doctors regarding the nature of schizophrenia, an illness she's so au fait with that she even wore the t-shirt.

As performed by Geddes herself in Jessica Beck's production for the fledgling Kidder company, the end result is a quasi stand-up tale of ordinary madness and the hand-me-down legacy left in its wake. Barely still for a second beside a chair perched on a low angled platform, Geddes embarks on an emotional merry-go-round as she flits between wryly related anecdotes that move towards something more troubling.

It is Geddes' portrayal of Kirsty's mother that provides some of the play's most poignant moments, while a grown-up Kirsty comes to terms with a potentially childless future with a bi-polar boyfriend. Out of something that could easily have become angst-ridden comes a life-affirming display of acceptance and understanding through the mutual bond of familial love. To lend charm to such sensitive material is a difficult act to pull off, but Geddes does it with aplomb, as anyone who sees the show tonight and this weekend at the Tron in Glasgow as part of the theatre Mayfesto season should find out.
 
The Herald, May 15th 2015
 
ends

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