1-3 October 2014
Reviewed by Amy Jones
Tonight we have been back at the Northern Stage in Newcastle to enjoy the acclaimed physical theatre company Gecko’s performance of Institute – a play that makes you think about how we as a society (and as individuals) care for each other in times of need.
The play is focused around 4 men, the whole play only uses these 4 men and briefly a lady to tell their story. Martin is a romantic at heart who has had his broken by a women, he continually relives the moment at which he proposed to her over and over again, the audience is led to believe that this is the cause of him being instituted, however his real breakdown only manifests after he is forced to firstly ignore this memory then secondly to confront it head on. All being directed by a doctor, who would appear to not care about his patient, mocking his illness. The staging of Martins breakdown is fantastic, how the set changes to accommodate what is happening in Martin’s head is quite brilliant as well as the interpretive dance that follows this.
A twist in the tail happens as the Doctor of Martin faces his own demons and he himself ends up in an institute and in need of the care that was unable to deliver to his patients.
The play also highlights that behind every “statistic” of a person who ends up in care there is a story behind it where people are pushed beyond their limits whether it be from the stresses of work, or a relationship break up, that is incredibly sad as if they had the support they might not have ended up where they eventually found themselves. The staging helps to illustrate this brilliantly where it flows from one scene to another with the use of filling cabinets around the stage to symbolise the filing of memories in our heads which are opened at various points throughout the play.
Overall I would give this a 3.5/5. Although I enjoyed the play at times it was difficult to know what was going on, although that did mirror what the play was about and also has kept me thinking the whole journey home.
Tickets cost from £14.50 to £24
Institute is at the Northern Stage in Newcastle until 3 October 2014. For more information or to book tickets click here or call the box office on 0191 230 5151.
Northern Stage, Barras Bridge,Newcastle Upon Tyne,Tyne and Wear, NE1 7RH