Writer and Director: Terry Johnson
Reviewer: Mark Johnson
The Public Reviews Rating:
The play is set in the Hampstead home of Sigmund Freud where he’s moved to live out his dying days in peace. This peace becomes disrupted by a series of visitors, firstly Jessica, a mysterious figure who first appears on a rainy night at the window. She’s determined to get Freud’s attention and time – so much so that after he refuses to see her she strips completely naked leaving Freud no choice but to see her. Farcical moments begin as two more visitors arrive, Freud’s physician Yahuda and surrealist painter Salvador Dali. When the settles down the plot becomes more serious and focuses on Jessica’s need to find out about the sessions Freud spent with her mother. It is a brave and thought provoking story that comes to a satisfying conclusion.
Anthony Sher is on real form as Freud, showing why he is one of the greats in British acting. He has a real presence about him and plays Freud’s strengths and weaknesses fantastically. Indira Varma’s performance as Jessica is superb, her acting ability shining out, for example, when Jessica and Dali re-enact one of Freud’s sessions with her mother. Will Keen’s Dali is full of energy but the strong Italian accent makes it difficult to follow what is being said. David Horovitch adds another layer of fine acting as Yahuda.
Though the performances in terms of acting were strong, the dialogue was sometimes hard to hear. With such a pace to the play, you can be left behind trying to work out what has just been said.
The stage design, by Les Brotherston, adds real class to the production. In the second act the set really comes to life when we enter the hallucinating mind of Freud which sees him surrounded by naked ladies and a zombie Nazi.
Overall, it’s a production well worth catching. Prepare yourself for a bumpy ride, but an enjoyable one.
Runs until: 1st September 2012.