Sarah Wynne Kordas, Andrew Ryan and Michael Sherwin 


Belgrade Theatre



Anthony Horowitz’s Mindgame is well-named. The drama plays with the audience every bit as much as each of the characters involved in their ‘psychodrama’.

It is the sort of piece that makes no sense at the time but as time passes things start to all into place. Or perhaps, it allows the audience to make their own sense of the events. It rewards some serious consideration afterwards.

The story is hard to tell. Each of the three actors plays many parts. But to start Dr Farquhar (Michael Sherwin), a psychologist in charge of Fairfields (a maximum security establishment for the criminally insane in Suffolk) keeps Mark Styler (Andrew Ryan) waiting alone for two hours in his office ostensibly dictating the beginnings of a new book about Easterman, a serial killer, incarcerated there. Nurse Paisley (Sarah Wynne Kordas) is the final entrant to the drama, attempting to warn Styler about danger ahead.

The drama continues with only questions and no answers. Who is Styler? Is he an inmate with delusions, is the doctor a serial killer, who is the skeleton?

Not everything hangs together. For example, why wouldn’t Styler actually kill Dr Ennis when able? Thinking about it later the final scene is where the clues lie as to the truth of the drama. But, to be honest, I’m still not sure. I hope that is the point!

The changing of the characters is cleverly echoed in the set where a homely photo of Farquhar’s Yellow Labrador becomes a slavering wolf, sunflowers overflow on the panelling, the skeleton takes on a comic pose and, most scarily because almost imperceptibly, a brick wall provides the window view where before it is elegant gardens of a country house in Suffolk.

It is an enjoyable evening with plenty of food for thought. It is a clever play that overspills its time slot, lingering in the mind for a long while as we seek closure.

If the point of psychodrama is to help delusional psychopaths to face their truth, this play seeks to show that serial killers are often damaged psychopaths with a penchant for control and no connection to the feelings of others and, as was repeated a few times in the play, to paraphrase, the main problem is that they have no idea there is a problem. Excellent if confusing! Directed by Karen Henson, Mindgame runs to 17-03-18.

Jane Howard


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