City of London Academy
theSpace on the Mile
A respectable endeavour at a Sarah Kane classic that my well have got an A* at GCSE just doesn't make the grade at this years Edinburgh Fringe.
The City of London Academy has certainly taken on a challenge, choosing to bring one of the most confusing and controversial plays ever written to the largest arts festival in the world. 4.48 Psychosis is believed by many to be the suicide note of its writer, the late Sarah Kane, who committed suicide just before the play originally opened at the Royal Court Jerwood Theatre Upstairs in 2003.
Its non-linear script and lack of a through storyline makes it a favourite for the classroom, as, along with the in-depth themes (from depression to mental illness), the educational benefits of teaching this play are unbounded. However after seeing this production you can't help but feel that perhaps educational productions of it should stay in the classroom behind closed doors.
The whole piece has a lack of energy and emotion throughout, with the full company dressed in black and on stage for the entire performance meaning any subtle moments are either faded into the backdrop or lost amongst the sea of faces. With such a well-known play as 4.48 Psychosis, originality is most certainly key at keeping your audience interested from the word go.
However, with this young youth group there is a major lack in any exciting creative innovation with stereotypical drama student devices coming into play at every possible opportunity. For example, a section describing a puppet had two of the cast members reciting their lines as if hanging like a marionette.
Overall it was a good effort for a difficult piece of work, but perhaps with a little bit more work, less aim at a top grade and an increased awareness of the audience they are performing to, The City of London Academy could create a rounded, coherent performance that Fringe-goers far and wide would flock to.
Reviewer: Liam Blain