The Treatment (New Theatre)

This weekend go and see Martin Crimp’s The Treatment at the New Theatre. If for nothing else, just go and see it for the actors who, for want of a better phrase, steal the show.

In ‘The Treatment’, director Sam Grafton and producer Adrian Hopkins have chosen to take on a difficult play to stage (in fact, it’s a difficult play to watch). The storyline follows Anne (Maia Gibbs), an unworldly girl who has a story to tell: a story of being trapped by her mysterious husband, repeatedly tied up and silenced by duct tape. And yet she maintains she was not abused.

We meet her selling this, her life story, to film treatment duo Jennifer and Andrew (Sam Psyk and Ali Blackwell). As Anne’s life and its story are manipulated by the treatment team, the divide between reality and fiction begins to blur…

I should warn you: this is no easy watch. With some eyebrow-raising sexual scenes, bad language, voyeurism, violence, and one very intense atmosphere, this won’t be to everyone’s tastes. More importantly, however, is the manner in which this performance tackles such scenes and the way the cast expertly carry them out. The actors even inject a dark comedy to the play that will make you laugh despite the encircling claustrophobia.

As the plot whirls around, you’re never sure what’s going to come next. From art imitating life to the blind leading the blind, ‘The Treatment’ to some may appear pretentious or overly self-conscious. And without a doubt, the script will offend some and shock others. But no one can discredit the very strong performances on show, and everyone will be enthralled, if not enamoured by the plot.

The Treatment runs at the New Theatre until 11th March.

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One Comment
  • James
    11 March 2006 at 02:41
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    Yes, very enjoyable this week.

    If there was a weakness, it was probably in the script. Crimp’s bleak vision of New York was certainly interesting, but it often seemed to be overwhelmed by the sheer weight of symbolism and imagery that was thrown at the piece; too many ideas, too little time.

    I wondered if the New York setting was slightly undermined by the decision to avoid American accents: the play lacked a certain authenticity, and I think that the accents might have helped the cast to be more at ease with the snappy Mamet-esque dialogue, which didn’t always flow.

    I agree with Simon, the acting was almost uniformly excellent, with particularly strong turns from Psyk, Blackwell and Proffit. I’m not sure that Eisenberg entirely got under the skin of his complex character though.

    Liked the River Nene boxes! I’m pleased that someone else out there gets the organic veg… 😉

    Looking forward to Closer. I liked the film, and suspect that it probably works better on stage.

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