The Almighty Sometimes, written by Kendall Feaver and Directed by Katy Rudd, is out of this world. It tackles one of the most pressing social issues of our time, children's mental health. The play is based around a mother and daughters relationship, one that is fragile and yet so precious. This play tells a story of a unique experience, it does not seek to give answers and it is not a representation of everyone’s story, but it does encourage a conversation about how we as a society look on the issue of mental health in children.
The stage is minimal yet realistic. A selection of carefully thought out furniture portrays a dining room-kitchen and a psychiatric meeting room. Starting with narration from Psychiatric Doctor, Vivienne, we follow Anna’s journey through her illness. We experience the highs and the lows and spectate her spiral out of control.
Throughout the play, surreal and abstract moments break up the tension with the actors miming and mimicking Anna’s make believe stories from when she was little. These moments are precious, portraying a happier time and glimpse of hope away from the illness. For the spectator it is also a welcomed interruption of breaking up the gripping and often horrifying moments within the play.
Moments of sensory aspects allow impactful, mesmerising and compelling performances from actors Norah Lopez Holden, Julie Hesmondhalgh, Mike Noble and Sharon Duncan-Brewster. The relationships between each character is just astonishingly beautiful. Vivienne is calm, collective and professional whilst Renee is the worrisome, over protective mum. Anna, who is vulnerable yet witty plays well against Oliver, and together they bring a fantastic dose of comedy to the play. Each relationship feels genuine.
The play is gritty and intense, yet so fresh and pure in the sense that it pushes boundaries and dares to explore taboo topics. We laughed with the characters, and cried with the characters. An informative, stylised and important play that literally left me speechless. - Rebecca Phillipson