Kendall Feaver’s THE ALMIGHTY SOMETIMES is more than a kitchen shrink drama charting the brittle relationship between a mother and daughter.
The daughter, Anna, had been diagnosed with a mental illness at eight years old and is now approaching adulthood.
There are changes imminent, with the intimate relationship with her initial psychiatrist, Vivienne, coming to an end, and the responsibility for her treatment no longer incumbent on her mother, Renee.
THE ALMIGHTY SOMETIMES opens up an almighty discussion on mental illness and its treatment.
When Anna becomes behaviourally difficult, Renne says it’s the disease not her daughter, while Vivienne counters that whatever the medication, Anna is still Anna. The conflict between perspectives and perceptions is palpable.
And Anna is ready to abandon, or at least, adjust her medication, arguing that her adult brain is different – either matured naturally or mutated by the pharmaceuticals.
Anna is an aspiring writer who thinks the medications she is on are inhibiting her creativity, and that’s big motivation to curtail her current treatment. She’s not a little pissed off that her stories have already been published without due attribution in Vivienne’s celebrated bestseller of case studies.
Lee Lewis’ production of THE ALMIGHTY SOMETIMES is always mightily engaging despite the plays talk wordiness thanks to her two leads, Brenna Harding as Anna and Hannah Waterman as Renee.
In the play, Anna’s boyfriend, Oliver, calls her brave, and Harding embodies that attribute in a finely tuned performance that flowers into heart felt frenzy.
Waterman is duly contrasting, a safe haven mum, perilously close to garrotting by umbilical cord or suffocation by cotton wool.
Solid support from Penny Cook as Vivienne and Shiv Palekar as Oliver add to the contrasts and textures.
Played out on Dan Potra’s clinical white set with matching lighting design from Daniel Barber, THE ALMIGHTY SOMETIMES applies both the microscope to the domestic and the telescope to the broader issue.