This powerful solo show about mental health gives the audience plenty to think about in terms of their own attitude to mental health problems.
Written by Chantelle Dusette, the story follows one woman’s struggle to deal with her difficult past, the repetitive routine of the present and her quest for happiness while living with a mental illness.
The piece is emotionally raw and grips the attention of the audience from beginning to end, revealing the complex ways in which our minds work and how self-doubt can soon turn into self-loathing and frustration.
It is brought vividly to life by the strong and commanding performance of Maya Thomas, who manages to completely submerge herself into the role with great effect and understanding that is beautifully judged. But it also must emotionally draining to have to perform with that level of intensity night after night and so deserves credit for that.
Dusette’s writing as well shows depth and understanding from someone who has had personal experience with depression and is revealing in the way in which the mind can rapidly unravel and change your outlook on life and the feelings that go with it.
But the show also reveals the pressures of everyday life to prove that we are happy, to hide our true emotions from the world – through social media and other forms of media in every day life, the pressure to constantly look at your best. It is, Dusette argues a vicious circle that needs to be broken – but difficult to break the pattern of self-loathing when everyone tells you how you are supposed to feel and act.
There are a couple of elements that would have been interesting to explore in further detail for example, the type of help available to those suffering with a mental health problem and the reaction of people to the idea of mental health problems. But this is a very minor complaint in a show that covers a lot of ground in an hour show.
Director Scott Le Crass keeps things simple, allowing the power of the words that the character speaks really ring out, but gradually increasing the tension that keeps the audience on the edge of their seat. But it can seem a little bit over the place at times and difficult to keep up with, that disrupts the ease and flow of the words.
It is a fantastically thought out piece, that is genuine, angry, passionate and heartfelt from beginning to end and is well worth a visit if you get a chance to.
Cancel the Sunshine is playing at the Hope Theatre until the 2nd April. For more information and to book tickets visit: http://www.thehopetheatre.com/productions/cancel-the-sunshine/.