Review Round Up: The Wonderful World of Dissocia, Theatre Royal Stratford East

We take a closer look at what critics have been saying about Emma Baggott’s production of Anthony Neilson’s  play. You can can also check out our interview with cast member Tomi Ogbaro here.

(c)Marc Brenner

WhatsOnStage: ***** “Put any misgivings aside: Emma Baggott’s new production of The Wonderful World of Dissocia deserves to be packed to the rafters. This revival at Theatre Royal Stratford East of the cult play is wise, sharp and fair, having all the fun possible but still interrogating Anthony Neilson’s text of two decades ago.”

The Guardian: **** “This revival more than stands the test of time in its portrait of mental illness – it is original, brutal, memorable.”

The Times: ** “Premiered in Edinburgh in 2004, The Wonderful World of Dissocia was greeted with largely ecstatic reviews when it made its way to the Royal Court in 2007. Now comes a revival, directed by Emma Baggott, which delivers lots of energy alongside the tomato ketchup and anal rape references but still can’t disguise that this is a psychodrama made up of two wholly incompatible halves.”

Evening Standard: **** “Emma Baggott’s revival is grounded from beginning to end by a fine central performance from Leah Harvey, focused and magnetic amid external and internal disorder.”

All That Dazzles: **** “The Wonderful World of Dissocia did exactly what it set out to – created a wonderful world for the audience to immerse themselves into. With magnificent writing full of humour and heart coupled with gorgeous staging and throwing a phenomenal cast in to the mix, you feel like you are witnessing true theatre magic played out on the stage.”

(c) Marc Brenner

Time Out: *** “Anthony Neilson’s 2004 play is half a lark, half deadly serious. Its first act is an ‘Alice in Wonderland’-esque tumult, painting its protagonist Lisa’s journey to the pun-filled land of Dissocia. Then everything turns flat and grey, as she is sucked back into bleak reality. I suspect audiences’ responses to it will be split, too: I found myself semi-charmed, semi-infuriated by its madcap perspective on mental ill health.”

The Stage: **** “Emma Baggott’s revival of Anthony Neilson’s surreal, irreverent exploration of mental illness, starring Dominique Hamilton and Leah Harvey, is energetic and engaging.”

The Arts Desk: **** “It’s a convoluted framing device, but it gets Anthony Neilson to where he wants to go in his cult hit of 2004, given a timely revival by Emma Baggott at the Theatre Royal Stratford East. Mental health has become much more prominent in public discourse in the 18 years since the play premiered, but the word used is almost always “awareness” and not “understanding” – two hours in the company of Lisa goes some way towards telling us why that is so.”

North West End: ***** “Emma Baggots’ direction is perfectly orchestrated chaos. Throughout, there is a clear rhythm and tempo for their madness with sane moments as they consider Lisa’s attitudes and reply with their own bizarre logic. The ensemble is superb, gelling together exquisitely as well as shining in their individual parts.”

The Wonderful World of Dissocia will play at the Theatre Royal Stratford East  until the 15th October.

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