Doctor and nurse

A difference in opinion between Michael Sherwin as Dr Alex Farquahar and and Sarah Wynne Kordas as Nurse Paisley


Malvern Theatre


Anthony Horrowitz’s psychological thriller is certainly a conversation piece. At times it will have you on the edge of your seat and then seconds later will have you laughing.

The aptly titled thriller opens with Mark Styler (Andrew Ryan), looking around a doctor’s office at Fairfields Hospital for the criminally insane.

Speaking into his Dictaphone, Styler describes the beautifully manicured lawns that he observes from the window, ponders on who the portrait of the man on the wall might be of and surmises the personality traits of the as yet unseen Doctor, by studying the contents of their bookshelf and a few oddly placed items in the room (including the full sized skeleton displayed in the corner).

We learn that Styler is a writer who has made a three hour journey in the hope of meeting notorious, cannibalistic serial killer Easterman, who is to be the subject of his latest book.

The strangely forgetful Dr Alex Farquahar -pronounced Farra; the Q is silent and the r is superfluous (Michael Sherwin) - initially declines to assist Styler and calls Nurse Paisley (Sarah Wynne Kordas) to show him out.


Andrew Ryan as writer Mark Styler and Michael Sherwin as Dr Farquahar 

When timid Nurse Paisley arrives and explains that she has read one of Styler’s previous true crime books, Farquahar becomes intrigued and allows him to stay; and so the psychological twists and turns begin.

Without giving too much away, no one is as they may first appear. The perfect play for the amateur detective in the audience as it is littered with clever visual and verbal clues and of course numerous red herrings. You need to be very observant! Some of the acting appears almost comical and unconvincing at times but as the plot unravels the reason becomes clear.

The casting is well balanced and all give good, strong performances but Andrew Ryan shines as he takes us through a whirlwind of emotion, creating tension and keeping us guessing to the very end.

This quick moving, sometimes dark play that questions the difference between insanity and evil and plays on fears and anxieties will not be to everyone’s liking, indeed some may find it confusing and difficult to follow.

It certainly isn’t a simple and gentle ‘the butler did it’ type of production. If you are looking for something deeper, edgier and more challenging, then we can highly recommend Mindgame - our advice, don’t give up on it at the interval. It all becomes clearer in the second half and only then can the quality and skill of the actors be fully appreciated. Playing with your mind to 15-04-17

Rosemary Manjunath and Elizabeth Smith


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