Mindgame Review

January 24, 2018 by Liam Jefferies

Not knowing much of Horowitz’s work, watching Mindgame at the Palace Theatre I was educated in just why his books (over 40 to date) have proven so popular.

In Mindgame, A prominent author of gaudy ”true crime"stories enters a secluded mental institution with hopes of interviewing a serial killer who has been confined there for thirty years. The superintendent of the institution does not want the interview to take place, and before long a grisly reflection of the human psyche is presented.

Michael Sherwin is equal parts enthralling and idiosyncratic as Farquhar, blending sinister monologues with dry wit at every turn afforded. This adds to the increasing sense of unfamiliarity, punctuated by erratic rises in both volume and inflection, just when the audience are pleasantly lulled into a sense of iambic rhythm, an outburst of tumultuous proportions ensnares the audience akin to a teacher rousing a daydreaming student.

The mise-en-scène adds to the sense of disharmony throughout the production. For a play set entirely within the confines of an office, subtle changes between acts, unnoticeable at a glance, offer the audience a foreshadowing of themes of reality and its indefinability. Photographs change their subject, a certain skeletal trouper is contorted, and keep your eye on the window. The audio, a jarring assortment of what can only be described as elevator muzak is piped incongruously into scenes, due to what is presented as a faulty speaker system on the ward, skipping and randomly shutting off, again adding to the sense of discontinuity throughout the piece.

Sarah Wynne Kordas, as perhaps the most relatably human of the three characters, bounces off Sherwin’s Farquhar well, while Andrew Ryan as Styler presents a character at first deplorable in his conspicuous and at times pretentious manner, before becoming a somewhat sympathetic character, without giving too much away… Something this play does both sparingly and with a sense of contrivance. Just when the armchair detective in you think you have something figured out, a new revelation arises to prove you wrong.

Overall, Mindgame is a sharp thriller, full of wit and homage to the genre, but be warned, not all is as it seems within the grounds of Fairfield Hospital.

Mind game is at the Cliffs Pavilion until Saturday 27th January, click here for more information.


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