Katzpace Studio Theatre
Reviewed – 10th June 2018
“the cast are competent all round, though there are no stand out performances”
Obsession is a word that’s thrown around by many of us on a daily basis. People are obsessed with celebrities and fashion trends and TV programmes – Sean, for his part, is obsessed with ‘Game of Thrones’. But Ivy’s obsessions are different. Ivy has OCD and it’s spiralling out of control. She doesn’t cellophane the surfaces, but she can’t take the rubbish out or touch someone else’s hand or stand on the pavement cracks. Now it’s affecting her job and her relationship.
‘Obsession’ is an eye opening investigation into living with OCD, written by Kate Marston who also takes the central role of Ivy. Jim’s character, a personal trainer who is terrified of his own wife, lends a light comic relief particularly to the latter portion of the piece, though Chris Udoh could afford to bring out this comedy a little more in his delivery. Sophie Winter-King plays the real and imagined ‘other woman’ and does so with ease. Chris Royle’s Sean is particularly strong, likeable and easy, until the moment that he isn’t. Overall, the cast are competent all round, though there are no stand out performances.
Sarah Mercadé’s design is simple but effective within the space, a slanting white bench framed by strips of light. The piece itself strikes a really lovely balance between establishing Ivy and Sean’s relationship, clear moments of fun and warmth between them, as well as documenting its breakdown. Sean’s journey seems less nuanced, less gradual than Ivy’s, and more development of his trajectory would help to support Ivy’s own narrative. The piece isn’t hugely formally inventive, following a similar arch to many plays I have seen approaching mental health issues. However it does do it better than many I have seen, and its goal is achieved – I leave with a considerably greater awareness of OCD, the way it can manifest itself and how best to support it.
This is a well balanced, thought provoking piece that sheds some much needed light on the impact of living with OCD.
Reviewed by Amelia Brown
Photography by Ali Wright
Katzpace Studio Theatre until 13th June
Previously reviewed at this venue