"Powerful reworking of moving work"
by remotegoat reviewer for remotegoat on 09/03/12

I've read 4:48 Psychosis but never seen it staged until now. I am aware that it was written for three people and I'm also aware that it's been reworked for a solo artist to take all the dialogue and deliver it as a one woman show. Until now I've never been aware of anyone brave enough to make it into a true ensemble piece.

Steven Green has directed with a strong vision, this harrowing piece written by Sarah Kane just before her own suicide, and has managed, together with lighting designer Pablo Baz (who has been nominated for an award for the lighting for this play) to make what is never going to be an enjoyable, uplifting evening at the theatre into an engaging and thought-provoking one.

It is a strong ensemble piece but one actor who is cast as Voice One is the huge talent of Charlie Bate. She manages to walk that fine line between compassion and self pity with deft aplomb and even from the opening "long pause" has the audience in the palm of her hand. Making them feel her torment and her frustration as she wrestles with the various forms of reality her own mind create.

It is rare for me to come away from a piece of theatre and for it to be impacting me the day after seeing it. Perhaps that's because I'm seeing so much that the emotional waves dissipate faster now than they used to, but here I sit, a good twelve hours after curtain still playing moments of this production over in my mind.

Admittedly it's not the easiest piece to review. There are times when it's hard to divorce what you see on stage from the knowledge that this was Sarah Kane's last piece and presaged her own suicide. So there is a tendency perhaps to see this as nothing more, or less, than a hugely tortured 75 minute suicide note. It is difficult to "enjoy" in the same way that you would "enjoy" a musical perhaps, or a comedy. But theatre isn't always about enjoyment. It's about challenge. And it's also about showing a glimpse of a life that most do not live or understand and this 4:48 Psychosis rather elegantly captures the internal wrestling that can go on with certain mental health conditions.

The wrestles are not that much different to those that occur within people without depression it's just that they can, as they are here, turned up to eleven.

Is this a piece of theatre worth seeing? Yes.

Are there some stand out moments?
Most definitely.

Is there a brilliant performance to watch?
Yes. And it's that of Charlie Bate.

Will you enjoy this?
Hmmm, difficult to say as "enjoy" is subjective. On reflection I did. I can't guarantee you will, but you will come away thinking and challenged and that will be no bad thing.

Ooh! Forgot to mention the stunning costumes by Zahra Mansouri who reworks hospital gowns into a huge variety of costumes that contribute to a stunning visual impact that this piece most certainly does have.

It's going, together with the other productions from Fourth Monkey this year, to Edinburgh for the Fringe and I suspect that this will be a very popular show. I also suspect that Charlie Bate will be snapped up by a big time agent sometime soon.

Add Your review?

Have your say, add your review

Other recent reviews by remotegoat reviewer
Dead Sheep
YES. YES. YES. Simply Marvellous by remotegoat reviewer
A fascinating shift of focus by remotegoat reviewer
How d'you like your eggs? by remotegoat reviewer
Skin Deep
welcome to the new nostagia by remotegoat reviewer
A young woman's empowering journey by remotegoat reviewer