BWW Review: MENTAL, Tron Theatre, Glasgow
Following a very successful run at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe in 2017, Mental comes to the Tron Theatre as part of the Scottish Mental Health Arts Festival.
Kane Power is a co-writer and the lone performer in the show. Kane's mother Kim Power has Bipolar Affective Disorder and he stresses that this is his mothers' story and not his. I found his storytelling to be very respectful of her. While he does give some anecdotes about how Kim's illness affects her and the people around her, he doesn't seem to sensationalise anything for the sake of drama.
What spoiled the performance for me was the format. The delivery is a mix of storytelling, voicemail recordings and musical performances. Kane records vocals with a loop pedal and plays it back on topic of previous recordings. I suspect the effect is meant to create some of the confusion and mixed messages of bipolar disorder but I felt it weakened the content. Although he is a confident performer, I didn't find Kane particularly engaging which also took away from the impact of the show.
The piece does raise some interesting points- why is it that a person "is bipolar" when you wouldn't say that somebody "is cancer"? It also tries to break down the diagnosis in simpler terms for anybody who isn't overly familiar with the illness which makes it an accessible and informative piece.
Mental is at the Tron Theatre, Glasgow until Saturday 12th May.
Photo credit: Lucas Smith Photography