’Proves powerfully emotive & rightfully tough to take’: MEDICINE – Hope Theatre

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Hope Theatre, London – until 1 September 2018

It’s a real gift to be able to write the kind of dialogue that manages to both leave you breathless with laughter and yet feel entirely rooted in believability. And as Ma bickers delightfully with her daughter Moira-Bridget over whether she’ll catch her death without a sweater, or the quality of the wine she’s nicked, or what they should drink that wine out of (I think this is the first play I’ve seen to mention Mooncups…), it is clear that Meghan Tyler has such skill.

But Medicine is far from just fun and games and banter, the full complexity of mother-daughter relationships is explored here, right down to everything that they share. Which includes a tendency to severe depression. We first meet the pair on Warrenpoint Pier in Northern Ireland, where Ma discovers Moira on the edge – quite literally – but though every part of her wants to do something, sometimes it is just impossible to help.

Off the Middle was last seen at the Hope Theatre with the utterly devastating In Other Words and wisely, Paul Brotherston’s production reunites that exceptional creative team. Will Alder’s lighting has an uncompromising harshness to it which leaves nowhere to escape, so too the inescapable sounds from Iida Aino. And Brotherston’s direction pares back all artifice to really heighten the emotion here.

Writing from her own experience and performing as Moira too, Tyler spares us little of the desperation of a young woman fully in the grips of mental illness. And Lynsey-Anne Moffat is painfully effective as the mother who has found her own solution of wine and pills but when it comes to her daughter asking for help, can find nothing but anguished silence.

The attempts to widen the scope of the writing to a wider Northern Irish context don’t always come off, especially considering how strong all the gallows humour is. But nevertheless, Medicine proves powerfully emotive and rightfully tough to take.

 

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Ian Foster
Since 2003, Ian Foster has been writing reviews of plays, sometimes with a critical element, on his blog Ought to Be Clowns, which has been listed as one of the UK's Top Ten Theatre Blogs by Lastminute.com, Vuelio and Superbreak. He averages more than 350+ shows a year. He says: "Call me a reviewer, a critic or a blogger, and you will apparently put someone or other's nose out of joint! So take it or leave it, essentially this is my theatrical diary, recording everything I go to see at the theatre in London and beyond, and venturing a little into the worlds of music and film/TV where theatrical connections can be made."
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Ian Foster on FacebookIan Foster on RssIan Foster on Twitter
Ian Foster
Since 2003, Ian Foster has been writing reviews of plays, sometimes with a critical element, on his blog Ought to Be Clowns, which has been listed as one of the UK's Top Ten Theatre Blogs by Lastminute.com, Vuelio and Superbreak. He averages more than 350+ shows a year. He says: "Call me a reviewer, a critic or a blogger, and you will apparently put someone or other's nose out of joint! So take it or leave it, essentially this is my theatrical diary, recording everything I go to see at the theatre in London and beyond, and venturing a little into the worlds of music and film/TV where theatrical connections can be made."

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