Normal / Madness, Pleasance Courtyard, Review

Rating (out of 5)
Show info
Fiona Geddes (Writer), Jessica Beck (Director/ Dramaturg), Partick Collier (Associate Producer), Katharina Reinthaller (Assistant Director), Cherry Truluck (Designer), Phil Hewitt (Lighting and Sound)
Fiona Geddes (Kirsty)
Running time

Schizophrenia, a largely misunderstood mental illness often mistaken for split personality disorder, affects around 1.1% of the population and is a subject often thought of as taboo. A difficult issue to tackle Kidder presents ‘Normal/Madness’, a show based on true events of a girl brought up by a schizophrenic mother that tackles the definition of what is ‘normal’. Questioning normality itself it asks if you have been brought up by a mentally ill parent, the person who moulds and shapes our very own lives, how will this affect us and what ways can we cope?

A one woman show, Kirsty (Fiona Gedder) invites the audience to come in to the intimate venue and relax as she begins her speech. Interjecting between directly addressing the audience as the character of Kirsty and playing the characters of Kirsty’s mother and the doctors she dives into numerous stories from her childhood, new relationship and struggles with her mother’s illness.

Extremely honest and sensitively approached ‘Normal/ Madness’ delves into a subject that is often never spoken of. Ignorance and lack of knowledge are usually to blame and Gedder helps to explain more about the illness in a touching but amusing manner.

Without ever trying to cover up the struggle of the carer for someone suffering from schizophrenia or in this case schizoaffective disorder, the play is brutally honest and doesn’t try to wash over the toll it can take on the person affected by but not suffering from the condition.

Gedder’s performance is simplistic and personal and works well for a show of this nature capturing the personal touch just right. Both hilarious at times and heart-breaking in others it accepts the need for selfishness in order for Kirsty to achieve a normal life, yet still proclaims the love and care that she has for her mother. Well researched, tactfully performed and delightfully simple, Normal/ Madness is an unpretentious and authentic show that shouldn’t be missed.

Runs until 25th August, 14.15pm.