City Guide to Edinburgh, Scotland

City Guide to Edinburgh, Scotland

The Wonderful World of Dissocia, Royal Scots Club, Review

By Kenneth Scott - Posted on 06 August 2014

The Wonderful World of Dissocia duo
Show details
Royal Scots Club
Edinburgh Graduate Theatre Group
Running time: 
Ross Hope (director), Anthony Nielson (writer), Emma Carter (co-director), J Gordon Hughes (lighting designer), Richard Graveling (sound director).
Laura Macleod (Lisa Jones), Sara Bates (Voice of Dissocia), Kenneth Brangman (Passenger / Attendant / The Bear / Inhibitions), Matt Davies (Guard / Vince), Jenni Gill (Jane / Dot), Richard Godden (Guard / Laughter / Dr Faraday), Dulcie Omonubi (Passenger / Britney / Nurse), Alan Patterson (Black Dog King), Chris Pearson (Victor Hesse / Argument), Ondine Tennant (Passenger / Attendant / Guitarist / Nurse), Brian Thomson (Oathtaker / Ticket / Dr Clark), Stuart Townley (Passenger / Goat / Biffer / Nurse).

When you cross the International Dateline a complete day disappears; lost, not here today and it’s already tomorrow. Do you ever get that day of your life back?

Lisa Jones has, on the face of it a smaller problem, the loss of one mere hour, 3600 seconds during a trans-Atlantic flight. But it’s an hour of power, one that has thrown her life out of balance and will need to be fought over if she is to continue her everyday life.

Her quest to cure the temporal confusion will see her descend to Dissocia, a through-the-looking-glass, over-the-rainbow, sort of place where dreams, fears and parts of her sub consciousness are brought to life.

It may be a fantastical land but it’s not free from processes and procedures, after all there is always a war on. The arrivals hall is overseen by insecurity guards, fretting over their own appearance and performance as they check for contraband such as flump covers or anything that might be used to tickle pilots. After a farcical oath to the missing Queen, Lisa’s search leads to encounters with an actual scapegoat, Jane from the Council (who lowers crime figures by being the designated victim) and a singing polar bear. Pervading all is a sense of wonder but also one of foreboding with war, violence and misrule brought about at the hands of the feared Black Dog King.

Without Lisa the land of Dissocia will die and she will have no one to fight her fights. With a sudden change of pace and direction Lisa is left alone to face her battles, no longer the queen of her own making but reduced to another entry on an official form passed between staff. No more heads in the clouds - this is the real world. The rollercoaster theatrical ride is replaced by a hypnotic, slow procession of days as Lisa comes to grips with the results of her actions and examines a future out of range of Dissocia’s lovely siren song.

The play is like no other in its structure or in its power to pull the audience into the head of a young woman with mental health issues. It manages by its contrasting halves to be funny, sad and to communicate extreme loss. It’s not always an easy play to watch and it won’t appeal to everyone, but it’s likely to burn into your brain like few others.

And now to this production. It is a monster of a piece and an amateur company would have to be mad to take it on. Thank goodness then that they are. It’s a brave, anarchic production that pitches it perfectly with strong direction and a cast that carry the whole thing along with some great performances. Alright the set is more tatty than wonderful but it makes a certain sense in that it represents a view of real life and it is soon forgotten.

Mad, in a good way, and completely wonderful, it’s 100 minutes of your life that you won’t want back.

Show Times: 4 - 9 August 2014 at 8.45pm.

Ticket Prices: £10.

Suitability: 16+