Medication assessment – Domhnall Gleeson despairs in absurdist institutional limbo
Ever since One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, we’ve favored to think about the workers who run an establishment could be crazier than these of their care. That’s definitely the case in Enda Walsh’s premiere, which kicks off the theatre programme of the Edinburgh worldwide pageant in a collaboration with Landmark and the Galway worldwide arts pageant. Flamboyant, humorous and surreal – proper all the way down to a Dalí-esque lobster costume – Medication is ready in a hospital that retains its sufferers in a self-perpetuating limbo wherein they’re by no means satisfactorily identified and so by no means cured.
The poor protagonist on this place is John Kane, whose annual session of drama remedy is his large likelihood to make sense of his reminiscences of parental neglect and childhood bullying. He’s performed fantastically by Domhnall Gleeson, who’s without delay passively accepting of his confinement and on the point of tears on the inexpressible horror of all of it. Resigned to a life in cotton pyjamas, he can’t comprehend how such an necessary day for him could be simply one other day’s work for the therapists.
And what therapists! In works resembling The Walworth Farce and Ballyturk, Walsh has revelled within the heightened theatricality of performs inside performs. Within the case of Medication, carried out on a set by Jamie Vartan that appears like a health club corridor within the aftermath of a workers celebration, he fields two musical-theatre actors known as Mary whose job is to dramatise Kane’s life story as if it had been a West Finish present. Moderately than utilizing theatre methods as a type of counselling, these two need a full-scale manufacturing.
At first, the joke is in regards to the actorly indulgence of Clare Barrett’s Mary, grandly lauding it over a pliable Aoife Duffin as the opposite Mary, in a humorous chalk-and-cheese pairing. However because the play goes on, absurdist comedy provides method to darkish despair. The primary Mary’s contemptuous enhancing of Kane’s story, as if he had been a second-rate playwright and never a human being, comes to face for an institutional indifference to his plight.
The free jazz drumming carried out stay by Sean Carpio intensifies from the ornamental to the apocalyptic as Gleeson is left stranded, extra misplaced and bewildered than ever.