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EDINBURGH 2014 - BWW Reviews: NORMAL/MADNESS, Pleasance Courtyard, August 8 2014

Normal/Madness opens with some anecdotes about Kirsty's mother. The usual typical "I hope I don't end up like my mother" kind of thing. We are then told that Kirsty's mother is schizophrenic.

Kirsty addresses the audience and ask who was under the impression that schizophrenia was split personality disorder. A few people sheepishly raise their hands. She delves into an explanation of the illness and her mother's own specific diagnosis was schizoaffective disorder which is a combination of both delusions and and a depressive state.

Normal/Madness explores mental illness and educates in an accessible manner. While I'm sure a lot of people can identify with certain stories she tells about her mother, it is apparent that it goes a lot deeper than just normal quirks and she is suffering from a serious illness. She also talks about her relationship with a bipolar man and how she feels that it would be impossible for them to have children with their combination of genes and history of mental health problems in the family.

Normal/Madness is a one-woman show performed by the very talented Fiona Geddes. She is a skilled actress who successfully portrays her mother in flashback scenarios and slips into different characters as she acts as each other many doctors who have dealt with her mum. The roles between parent and child are reversed as Kirsty's mum becomes more dependent on her and gives her power of attorney with full control over her medical decisions.

This is a moving and realistic piece of theatre. There is no Hollywood happy ending as it is recognised that this is an ongoing illness that you have to learn to manage and accept. It has been well researched and the script is excellent and manages to hold audience attention.

Normal/Madness runs at Pleasance Courtyard until August 25th.

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From This Author Natalie O'Donoghue

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