Still Ill evokes essence of our times
10 November, 2016 — By Elizabeth Sulis Gear
Questioning what is real and what is in our minds in Still Ill. Photo: David Monteith-Hodge
at New Diorama Theatre
“Does the body rule the mind, or does the mind rule the body?” poses Morrissey of the Smiths singing Still Ill, from which this piece derives its title.
This is the predominant question that consumes Kandinsky’s most recent show as its protagonists explore the often misunderstood world of functional neurological disorders – illnesses which cause real, physically felt suffering in their hosts with no apparent bodily cause.
The minimalist set comes to life with the inventive use of sound and television screens, and the descent into “madness” is both strange and familiar. As we witness the doctor’s endless questions and dismissals as Sophie (Sophie Steer) seeks a diagnosis, it is hard not to shake off the feeling that we too have been here before.
In parallel to this ongoing battle for an explanation, we are shuffled between scenes that make us question what is real, and what exists only in our minds. Harriet Webb and Hamish Macdougall expertly assume various roles testifying to their versatility as actors, necessary with a cast of three, while Sophie convincingly portrays the frustration felt by many as she seeks answers to no avail.
The doctor’s (Harriet Webb) outward arrogance and dismissive attitude melts into sympathy towards the end, as we are reminded that psychological ailments, and perhaps, though unsaid, those undiscovered by science, can be just as intolerable and crippling as those which are physically identifiable. Even with the slightly dark premise, writers James Yeatman, Al Smith and Lauren Mooney succeed in injecting humour and reality into the piece.
What we see is markedly realistic; beyond its core line of narrative, Still Ill succeeds in evoking the essence of the times we are living in. 020 7383 9034
Until November 19