Last week, my friend and I went to see anatomy of a suicide by Alice Birch at the Royal Court Theatre in London.
It was absolutely sensational!
I hadn’t read the play before, but it follows three generations of women and their mental health. It explores the painful legacy left behind on a Granddaughter after her Grandmother and her mother committed suicide.
To separate the three generations, the stage is split into three with each woman occupying a third of the stage with their story, which all occurs simultaneously.
Martha had already seen this play once before – she’s a super fan – and had told me about this before hand, but the simultaneous stories were really interesting. They were all acting at the same time and at some points speaking at the same time as well, so you had to choose which part to listen to. In spite of this, the play was flawless, thanks to Katie Mitchell’s brilliant direction.
Alice Birch is a really interesting playwright. She isn’t afraid to explore how raw life can be, especially how fragile mental health can be. It was gripping and very relevant. Some of the play was hard to watch such as the Mother (middle relation) committing suicide onstage, by getting into the bath, before she turns the hairdryer on and lowers it into the water.
But the themes and messages were really important and interesting, especially whether mental illness is hereditary.
All three actresses were also fantastic. I was already a huge fan of Hattie Morahan after seeing her in Simon Stephen’s version of Ibsen’s A Doll’s House a few years before, which is still on Digital Theatre and I cannot recommend enough.
The play is not running for much longer, but if you do get the chance to see this version of anatomy of a suicide, you will not be disappointed.