DramaMayfestReviewSouth West

MAYFEST: Give Me Your Love – Tobacco Factory Theatres, Bristol

Writer: David Woods & John Haynes

Director: David Woods & John Haynes

Reviewer: Ivana Galapcheva

Give Me Your Love is a dark comedic two-character drama informed by research into MDMA (methylenedioxymethamphetamine) assisted therapy for Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). Drawing from real-life war experiences, the award-winning duo Ridiculusmus, David Woods and Jon Haynes develop a sinister story which serves as the second instalment of a three-pronged investigation into innovative approaches to mental health. The series starts with The Eradication of Schizophrenia in Western Lapland and concludes with Complicated Grief, as part of the Ridiculusmus Trilogy at Mayfest 2018. 

With Give Me Your Love, one meets a bare and dirty mis-en-scene, save for a cardboard box thrown on the floor. This is when ex-soldier Zach, played by David Woods, springs to life and one learns he has withdrawn into a cardboard box in a kitchen in West Wales. His friend Ieuan, played by Jon Haynes, offers him recovery in the form of an MDMA capsule, whose use he learned from CNN follows the latest medical research and with which he claims to have successfully treated his own post-traumatic stress. Zach’s wife Carol, impersonated by Ieuan, ‘features’ at the start and the end of the show as an important presence to Zach’s tie to reality.

The core of the story has Zach and Ieuan diving into their fractured pasts and going back and forth between daydreamed heroism and supposed enlightenment through an absurd exchange of patriotism, human conflict and music references that moves the audience into laughs and tears at different intervals.

Reminiscent of Beckett’s absurdist dialogues, Give Me Your Love propels the audience to try and understand the uncanny actions one is drawn to when they’re mentally unwell.

Give Me Your Love continues today, Saturday, 19 May followed by a panel discussion at the Tobacco Factory Theatres reflecting on the provocations of Ridiculusmus’s three plays on contemporary health issues and approaches, with representatives from the health and pharmaceutical sector.

Runs until 19 May 2018 | Image: Contributed

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The Yorkshire & North East team is under the editorship of Mark Clegg. The Reviews Hub was set up in 2007. Our mission is to provide the most in-depth, nationwide arts coverage online.

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