The Yellow Wallpaper
Reviewed – 12th June 2018
“Gemma Yates-Round beautifully encapsulates the challenging role of Alice”
“I think there are a great many women behind, and sometimes only one, and she crawls around fast, and her crawling shakes it all over”
Another Soup return to Clapham’s Omnibus Theatre to headline the ‘Whispers from the Walls’ season with their poignant interpretation of The Yellow Wallpaper.
The production is based on Charlotte Perkins Gilman’s classic short story about a woman suffering with postpartum psychosis, as she struggles to receive the correct treatment to enable her recovery. Although the original story takes place in the late 1800s, the key themes within the text are incredibly relevant today. Whilst we have improved our attitudes towards mental illness since the Victorian era, Another Soup’s refreshing take on the story reveals how much of the stigmatisation still prevails deeply within society today.
Gemma Yates-Round beautifully encapsulates the challenging role of Alice, and from her first moments on stage brings the audience emotionally towards her character. This intimate connection with the audience whenever she breaks the fourth wall establishes the way in which the director has cleverly chosen to stage what is originally a first-person narrative written by an author who had the same experiences.
This particular interpretation of the text did not seem to be set in any particular era, and in many ways is yet another directorial decision from Dave Spencer to stay true to the dystopian setting of Gilman’s work. As well as this, the set design by Mayou Trikerioti and Cecilia Trono, further helped establish this unsettling atmosphere in addition to encapsulating the shifting consciousness of Alice’s mind.
Whilst this story sheds light on the dated attitudes many still harbour towards mental illness, particularly when suffered by women, it also draws attention to wrong ways in which we can treat mental illness. In The Yellow Wallpaper, Alice is taken away from other people, and is strictly forbidden to engage in any creative activity and, as a result, this worsens her suffering. Perhaps in some ways this particular production alludes to the ways in which art can potentially assist in treatment for mental illness, as well as playing a role in further educating audiences on the journey of someone with postpartum psychosis.
Reviewed by Claire Minnitt
Photography by Lidia Crisafulli
The Yellow Wallpaper
Omnibus Theatre until 24th June
Also by Another Soup theatre company