Kings Head Theatre, London – until 12th February 2022
Guest reviewer: Emily Cliff
Sigmund Freud, one of the most renowned neurologists of his time, changed the way the world thinks with his views and published works on, love, god and sex. CS Lewis, an atheist recently turned Christian, is writing books that completely undermine the works and career of Freud. Putting the two in a room together the very day World War II is declared makes for an extremely interesting and captivating debate, on the meaning of life and everything entangled in our very existence.
The King’s Head Theatre was a perfect choice for this play to be put on. The cosy feel of the theatre led to an intense and intimate atmosphere throughout. No line was missed and no beat was skipped. Both Séan Browne and Julian Bird delivered their lines with distinction and clarity being completely in sync with their characters and emotions. Particularly surrounding the false air raid scene, Browne captured the torture and distress associated with an ex-World War I soldier suffering PTSD.
The chemistry between these two characters was almost father-son-like in its debating, with Freud feeling like the superior because of his old age. Bird played Freud as a stubborn man who has simply become more stubborn and insufferable as age tightens her cruel grip on him. However, it is completely contradictory that Browne emits an atmosphere of youthful naivety despite fighting in the previous war, and being almost half the age of Freud. Both of these characters had an air of fascination around them and both Browne and Bird lit the spark and made this debate simply magnetic.
The set design of this production was simple albeit effective. Freud’s desk was true and authentic to the man himself, filled ironically, with pictures and statues of gods and goddesses, something that doesn’t fail to get mentioned and noticed throughout this play. Despite the fact the stage designers had little space to work with, they made it work with clever lighting and furniture; it felt as if the audience really had taken a step into Freud’s office.
The structure of the play is something completely different, while the story doesn’t visibly appear to have an arc, it doesn’t feel as though it is running round in circles either. It is simply an interesting debate neither rising or falling unnaturally with the way it is getting delivered. It is safe to say the aura of this play was alive and beating on with strong electricity from the chemistry of the two onstage and was a fantastic night of theatre to expand one’s mind on how we view life
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‘A fantastic night of debate to expand one’s mind’: @FairyPowered is captivated by the big existential questions in #FreudsLastSession at @KingsHeadThtr, starring @onlyjulian & @IamSeanBrowne as Sigmund Freud & CS Lewis. ★★★★ #featured #theatrereviews