Scotsman Assembly, Edinburgh
August, 2001

**** Tragicomic two-hander about a pair of psychiatric nurses

Usually Stephen Powell directs Lynn Ferguson onstage. This time they appear together, as both nurses and patients.

Brian and Margaret are psychiatric nurses, who live together because they can't afford to live separately. He is in denial about his divorce, she is writing a self-help book as an outlet for her frustrations at everyday life. We also see their patients: Josh, who thinks he is Jesus Christ, and Anastasia, who repeatedly denies that she believes herself to be the lost Romanov princess.

The humour in this hour-long piece is mostly bitter and sardonic, and is balanced by the more sober realisation that the carers are in their way as messed up as the inmates as they try to reach their respective grim accommodations with the world at large. Powell and Ferguson have worked well together in the past (most notably in the National Theatre's touring production of The Good Woman Of Setzuan), and have an easy rapport now they are sharing a stage together. Ultimately the play's advice is that it's better to laugh, but you can't always do so.

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Copyright © Ian Shuttleworth; all rights reserved.

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