Amygdala

4
Geraldine Alexander's play at The Print Room.
By Orlando - 1st Dec 2013

UKTW Editorial ImageWritten and directed by Geraldine Alexander this new, fiercely compelling, high-octane ninety minute drama holds no punches when it delves into the question posed in the programme: what is the significant moment that can trigger us into extreme action?

The formidable and always superb Jasper Britton (Simon) is an emotionally retarded psychiatrist who is attempting to access the amygdala of Hermione Gulliford (Catherine). She is mentally self-imprisoned, existing in a world of nursery rhymes and delusional outbursts. Post trauma. But what was the trauma? The doctor must get close to her and find out. But getting close may unlock his own amygdala where his demons lay quietly yet presently dormant. The third element to this pas de trois is the talented and handsome Alex Lanipekun (Joshua); the temptation for Catherine to escape her middleclass, lawyer, mother, wife and sexually repressed life. All the elements of sexual desire are forged together in this furnace of tension and multilayered repression. The only escape is to scream.

It really would be a spoiler to say what the event was and what the outcome is. Needless to say, Geraldine Alexander’s first play is a must see. Meaty, articulate and well-informed writing; coupled with stylish, subtle and fluid direction. Jasper Britton is satisfyingly caring and brutal, helpful and destructive in his tortured realisation of his own demons. Hermione Gulliford’s veracious and then crippled Catherine reminds one of a beautiful china vase; look, do not touch – just too fragile to handle. And then, simmering around the edges is the boy from the streets. Poetically articulate when analogising to musical notation, yet emotionally naive when dealing with the passions, drive, needs and wants of a woman with brains.

Mix the three of them together and what are you left with? Amygdala – a powerful new play, that keeps you on the edge of your seat until its final, humanly flawed, no win conclusion.

Orlando Weston


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