The subject id Alice Birch’s play is the cross generational havoc which mental illness creates.
We first meet Carol (Anna Samson), a woman who has just survived a suicide attempt. She plays it down to her husband. Then we meet the next generation Anna (Andrea Demetriades) who is a heroin addict,. Finally we meet her daughter Bonnie (Kate Skinner) , a lesbian Accident and Emergency Doctor at the stage where she is putting her family home on the market.
I found this play too much. The darkness, the shifting dialogues between the three generations. All of it taking place in such an intimate space as the Old Fitz.
Things come to a head with Bonnie announcing that the family lines ends with her. She emphatically refuses to have children, seeing how mental illness is so embedded in the family.
I couldn’t fault anything in Shane Anthony’s production, The performances of a cast of ten- Danielle Catanzariti, Jack Crumlin, Andrea Demetriades, Teale Howie, Charles Mayer, Guy O’Grady, Natalie Saleeba, Anna Samson, Kate Skinner and Contessa Treffone– were all good.
Production elements were strong- a good set design by Shane Anthony with Gus Murray, a sharp lighting design by Veronique Benett, an edgy soundscape by Damien Lane, and a striking costume design by Siobhan Jeff O’Hanlon.
ANATOMY OF A SUICIDE is playing the old Fitzroy Theatre until Saturday 6 July, 2019.