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Review: Psychodrama (Battersea Arts Centre)

Psychodrama - the first collaboration between Christopher Brett Bailey and Sleepwalk Collective - promises audiences a night of storytelling, but offers so much more.

Over 75 minutes, we are provoked to imagine our beloved - sometimes problematic - childhood cartoons through a series of episodic tales, with iara Solano Arana and Christopher Brett Bailey depicting their demise through a host of violent - and sometimes sexual - words and worlds. At the start of the show Brett Bailey tells us that the sounds and pictures we are about to see ask nothing of us as an audience, other than that we feel entertained - “who doesn’t love a good story?” he remarks behind a wry smile. We are told to metaphorically put our feet up and relax, “like you’re watching television”. Lulling us into a sense of security before the forthcoming wave of pop-culture exorcism.

One strength of Psychodrama is its slow transformation in to the form it is analysing, sublimely written episodic fables covering everything from one of the wildest representations of sex I’ve seen on a stage, to an exploration of our collective obsession with true crime documentaries and podcasts. Delivered through wireless headphones straight into our ear canals, Brett Bailey and iara’s words are gruesome, exceptional, always darkly-picturesque but never overbearing or confusing. This form of delivery, alongside sharp and measured performances, leaves me feeling oddly distanced from, yet still very much together with, those sitting around me. The duo's words nest in my brain like a small ant in an ant's hill, another voice amongst the many; but this one might just be the Queen.

Psychodrama is a heady-concoction of addictive, bold, gooey brilliance. Put down that pesky TV remote and get a ticket, before they’re all gone.

Psychodrama is at Battersea Arts Centre until 9th april, all tickets Pay What You Can. For access information and tickets, click here.

photo by @ladalianegra_

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