Anatomy of a Suicide by Alice Birch

Last week I was super lucky to go and see one of my best pals Martha, mooch around Richmond before going into the city to see anatomy of a suicide by Alice Birch at the Royal Court Theatre.

The play was sensational! I had not read it before, which I now will, but in short it follows three generations of women and explores the chaos of what has come before each woman was born and the painful legacy left behind from a Grandmother and mother committing suicide.

To separate the three generations, the stage is split into three with each woman occupying a third with their story – this 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 by simultaneously, I literally mean simultaneously not just acting or movement but speech as well at certain moments, and you have to simply chose which part is the most vital to listen to, while try and listen to there others at the same time. Despite the fragmentation the play was flawless, thanks to Katie Mitchell’s brilliant direction.

Alice Birch is a really interesting playwright as she really isn’t afraid to outline how raw life can be, and especially for the fragility of mental health to be presented on stage is really gripping and relevant. Some of it is 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.

All three actresses were also fantastic. I was a huge Hattie Morahan fan already 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 to watch recommend enough. The play is not running for much longer, but if you do get the chance to see this version at the intimate Royal Court theatre then do yourself a favour and go see an amazing bit of theatre.

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