Madness Sweet Madness
24:7 Theatre Festival
Martin Harris Centre for Music and Drama
The premise behind this play is that Grace has been having mental health problems since her husband Charlie went missing on the Malaysian Airlines plane last March and lost her job and her house as a result.
She is living with her brother-in-law Vesuvius (the name appears to be just as a set-up to one rather weak gag) who is being driven mad through lack of sleep due to her behaviour and her refusal to take her medication. Or perhaps he is the mad one.
Suddenly, at 4AM, two rather unconventional cops arrive to resolve the situation, Whispering Walt and Maarten—she's Dutch; he cooks eggs.
The play is an odd jumble of things that doesn't make a great deal of sense. At times it seems to be going for quirky comedy, but it isn't very funny. Or perhaps it's aiming more for a sinister Pinteresque absurdism, but that doesn't really work either.
Odd things happen, and there are long discussions about how odd it is, so it becomes a self-contained world to which it is difficult to relate.
The actors do what is required of them as effectively as they can: Matt Aistrup as Vesuvius, Sophie Harrison as Grace, Matt Holt as Whispering Walt and Sarah MacGillivray as Maarten.
Phil Bartlett's production links together scenes by crossfading to a tent, that looks rather like a street workman's hut, lit up from inside by coloured lights. Don't ask me...
24:7 always provides a rich mix of types and standards of plays, but this is one I struggled to relate to at all.
Reviewer: David Chadderton