“Hearing things” written by Philip Osment and presented by “Playing On”, is the result of five years of work with psychiatrists, mental health care workers and patients, and provides a window on this complex and difficult world. Full of rapid character and scene switches, it tells the story from a number of different perspectives and interests. At the centre of the play is a tragedy which is only too believable, and a profound anger at the way mental health patients and professionals are marginalised within a health service that is already underfunded and under-resourced. This is a world where there is no quick fix or headline medical breakthrough. Rather it is a world of painfully slow and agonising journeys which may end in success or failure. This is reflected in the narrative structure which goes forwards, backwards and in circles. Walls of misunderstanding and frustration are encountered and negotiated, only to reappear. The insights and fragility of the patients and the uphill struggles of the psychiatrist are brought to life with some deft performances from a small cast. It is a play laced with humour alongside tragedy, uncertainty alongside determination, and a very disturbing sense of authenticity. Well worth seeing.
“Hearing things” is on at the Omnibus Theatre, Clapham Common, 1 Northside, SW4 0QW until 27 January. For further information call 0207 498 4699 or visit www.omnibus-clapham.org