Review of Live Theatre

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Isobel Talks

Review of live theatre

Cambridge students’ ‘The wonderful world of Dissocia’ written by A Neilson

January 2008, Anglia Ruskin University Theatre

What impressed me most about this performance of Neilson’s Dissocia was its ability to present the key theme of mental illness in such a way that it gave me a greater understanding of how sufferers themselves must feel. The actors and actresses did succeed in bringing out the comic elements of the text, so the evening was highly entertaining. Although I felt the theme of mental illness was for the most part handled well, at times, the lack of thorough production values hindered Neilson’s intention of creating clear contrast between reality and unreality.

Overall the first half was more effective than the second. ‘The wonderful world of Dissocia’ centres on the main character Lisa, a girl with a mental illness of some sort. I felt this actress’s performance was very strong and how she was portrayed as an ‘Alice in Wonderland’ type character, with long blonde hair and a blue tea dress, was very visually effective and immediately after she entered the stage I as an audience member was aware the production was not of a naturalistic genre.

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Neilson wants us to find answers for questions we may not have thought about before, such as why do patients with mental illness often refuse to take their medication? This would increase our understanding of these conditions and the way they are handled. In order to do this effectively we needed to fall in love with Dissocia and its magic so we could sympathise with Lisa for not wanting to leave it. A key scene which achieved this for me as an audience member showed Lisa wandering around a ‘field’ lost in her thoughts. This scene appealed to all ...

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