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More twists and turns than an acrobat on acid - Mindgame at Malvern Theatre

Published by: G.D. Mills on 13th Apr 2017 | View all blogs by G.D. Mills

In Anthony Horowitz’s country house asylum for the criminally insane, things are not as they seem. The presiding doctor is more psychopath than psychoanalyst, the writer more comfortable with a scalpel than a pen in his hand, and the nurse’s increasingly febrile interjections hint at a terrible secret. 

Dr. Farquhar entertains a visitor, a writer collecting information about a serial killer who dwells in the asylum. Most of the drama swivels on the shifting relations between the two male characters and the slowly dawning suspicion that the inmates are running the asylum. Andrew Ryan’s Styler is an athletic, ambitious writer pitting his apparently sluggish wits against the avuncular, patrician Farquhar, played ably by Michael Sherwin.  

This psychological thriller takes on its highest form when elements of surreal menace (a tinny tanoy arbitarily emitting snatches of screechy symphony, for instance) and Pinteresque absurdity (when a long list of increasingly bizarre sandwich options are offered) creep in. But this is a genre piece more than anything, and so with a perfunctory twist here, and an obligatory turn there, it is especially gratifying when the final revelation puts paid to the sneaking suspicion that some of the plot ends don’t quite tie up. They do, very neatly as it happens 

Set in the doctor’s office, Sarah Wynne Kordas' deceptively static set begins to ennerve you. Are those beautifully manicured gardens through the window beginning to recede? And is that portrait slowly transmutating into something altogether more sinister? 

Delivering more twists and turns than an acrobat on acid, Mindgame with keep you guessing right to the end.  

Catch it now.



1 Comment

  • Cameron Lowe
    by Cameron Lowe 11 months ago
    Thanks, Geoff. Great to see coverage at Malvern Theatre.
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