Monday, August 06, 2012

Perhaps because the word hysterical is usually followed by laughter, probably also from the press image and the blurb ~ when surrealist painter Salvador Dali unexpectedly turns up, along with a young woman who finds it impossible to keep her clothes on, all hell breaks loose ~ I thought Hysteria at Bath Theatre Royal would be a farce. There were farcical moments, and belly-laughs too, but at the heart of the story is a serious issue: Sigmund Freud's change of heart after his research was reviled, and the consequences for the clients he may have betrayed and for the future of psychiatry.
Indira Varma is brilliant as the disrobing young woman, appearing in the analyst's life - or maybe his dream - in chameleon roles as student, subject, and super-ego-conscience to reproach him for re-condemning women he'd initially liberated by his 'talking cure', by labling them fantasists who longed for, and imagined, their abuse.
It's a fascinating play and a tour de force for the three men too - Antony Sher, David Horovitch, and especially Will Keen's Dali, blazing like a giraffe in sock-suspenders through the absurd surreality of Freud's mind-slip and speaking ego-eccentrically of himself in third person as "Dally". Set & lighting were impressive both as Freud's den and darkly-dreaming mind, and Terry Johnson directed superbly this 20-years on revival of his masterly script.

Ten hours after emerging from the theatre and by the miracle of modern Easyjet from Bristol I'm in Andalusia, soon to be dipping my toes in the cerulean pool of Cortijo Romero. Only day 2 of my week 'Being Here' with Amanda Brown, and already I'm blissed out by the place, the people, and the peace... A more coherent report may follow. Or just more pictures...


Esdragon said...

Straight after watching the mind-blowingly, genius touched opening ceremony of the Olympics on Friday night, we went the following night to see Hysteria and the unveiling of the dark face of that other 'genius', Sig Freud. Brilliant! Uproarious, if you're on the inside of the Freudian sub-text, and brought to tears and thoughtful silence in the more serious areas. BTW did you realise that Indira is the daughter of Beatrice and Shayam Varma who you've met as my old time friends. I've known Indira since she was 2 years old, and watched her progress as she went through school in Bath.

Crysse said...

I didn't realise that connection between the talented actor in Hysteria and your friends, Esme, thank you for alerting me to it. Interesting synchronicity we both went from Danny Boyle's frenzied imagination to that of Terry Johnson! Glad you enjoyed both, too. xc

Esdragon said...

A further touch of that sync. Beatrice VarmaDiddier, just returned from Switzerland today, emailed me to ask if I'd seen it. Indira and her actor husband and small daughter are staying at Beatrice's house in Bath while she was away.
Hope you're making the most of that sun and blue sea while we cheer on our Olympians in the rain. A bit more summer promised for Friday.