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Shining Lights - 4:48 Psychosis

2nd September 2002.

This is the review from the Newbury Weekly News.

Mind play

'4:48 PSYCHOSIS', performed by Shining Lights, at New Greenham Arts, on Monday, September 2

New Greenham Arts has had a delightful new face lift and also a new resident youth theatre company Shining Lights. Under the direction of Pete Watt they provide training specifically for young people to audition for drama schools and have had success with four of the present cast successfully gaining places. No mean achievement.

Sarah Kane's challenging play '4:48 Psychosis' offered an ideal opportunity for each actor to showcase their talents and they did this with panache!

This was the playwright's last work before she committed suicide, at the age of 28, in February 1999. It is difficult to separate her life from the play since it is a dark journey through the life and experience of a mentally ill young woman as she is subjected to endless medication to control her clinical depression. It is a turbulent roller-coaster ride of emotions, anger and frustration. The 4:48 psychosis is "the dawn moment when you're at your sanest and therefore most prone to suicide". It was also the time for exactly one hour and 12 minutes when she could write before being subjected to the torment of her inner mind.

The play is uncompromising, there are no character names, it weaves through both internal and external monologues and the audience experience the pain, loneliness and sadness of the characters trapped in this mental black hole.

Quite a challenge for this company but they handled it with sensitivity and understanding. The ensemble work was powerfully presented, changing shapes and moods with the cast working together as a harmonious team as we were invited to share and participate in their torturous mind games as they drew us into their special world.

James Elliot gave a splendidly controlled performance as the sympathetic convincing doctor. Should we trust him or not? Beccy Chaplin chillingly expounded the 4:48 theorem with total conviction and Lucy Butler's outrage at the medical profession and society was hauntingly vicious!

I came away from this play deeply moved by the issues raised. It certainly made me pause and think about society's attitude to mental health. Powerful stuff!