I love the theatre, it brings out such emotions in me that the television or the cinema simply cannot. One moment, you can be laughing gleefully, the next; in floods of tears, and in most cases, that's before the prologue. Okay maybe not before the prologue, but my point has hopefully come across.
A piece of theatre is real, real in the sense that this isn't edited, reshot or reimagined, this is the right now, it's surroundings catapult you to live in the moment; in the show.
There's no better theatre to do that than the beautiful Buxton Opera House, it has such charm and character, it's almost part of every show that's staged there because of its sheer elegance and I was lucky enough to get the chance to attend again this evening for Hysteria written by Terry Johnson.
The play is a comedy based on two brilliant minds meeting; Sigmund Freud played by Ged McKenna who has fled the Nazi occupation and fled to Swiss Cottage and the eccentric artist Salvador Dali played by John Dorney who decides to pay a visit.
This play is as old as myself and like me, it's aged very well and now considered by most a modern classic (the play, not me), recognised as a fantastic piece of theatre winning the Laurence Olivier Award in 1994 for best comedy the following year after it first opened.
This particular production is brought to us by London Classic Theatre, directed by Michael Cabot and features a fantastic cast, it's a sure fire hit for any theatre fan and it must be said although this play sets out to be a low key farce type story, there are some truly thought provoking moments which stop you in your tracks, set in 1938; it's set in quite a bleak time in modern history and with Kristalnacht news coming through to Freud during the play, the play could take a very deep turn and it does but Freud has other more pressing things on his mind when a women bursts into his study in the middle of the night.
This woman turns out to be Jessica, the daughter of one of his own ex-patients played by the wonderful Summer Strallen and as the story unravels; it's a fascinating part of the play which delves into Freud's views and how they've changed in his later years, with Freud and Jessica going through the sessions that he had taken with her mother and for the reason she is at his residence at such an antisocial hour.
The humour comes slowly and most definitely in the form of Salvador Dali who pays a visit to Freud at this most inconvenient time and manages to muddle the English language to hilarious effect and share out his passion for himself and his own importance to all who will listen throughout his visit, an extremely witty performance which provides light relief throughout which is very much needed.
Completeing the cast is Dr Abraham Yahuda played by the talented Moray Treadwell who plays very good straight role in the production, much to the set up of many wry jokes and the voice of Anna played by Rachael Holmes Brown.
The play will tug at all your emotions but it still finds time to be a great comedy farce as a even a respected character such as Sigmund Freud played by McKenna has to hide a nearly naked women in his bathroom away from Dali and his urges, you are taken in a whirlwind of emotions and thoughts, a very clever play by a fantastic cast. Well worth a go, but certainly not what I was expecting.
Reviewer: Max Eden
Reviewed: 16th February 2017
North West End Rating: ★★★
Photo: Sheila Burnett