A maverick theatre director has been murdered while working on a stage version of Hitchcock’s Psycho. The police are investigating and through their investigation, the story of the production, the director and the suspects, particularly the leading lady will emerge.
Along the way, there will be light comedy, dark comedy, and brutal insights into how the industry works for actresses in their 40s. And it will all be delivered by one person who spends most of the play sitting on a stool on a set devoid of any other props.
That Psychodrama can deliver so much with so little is testament to the fantastic script by Matt Wilkinson and the truly compelling performance of Emily Bruni. For anyone wary of the words ‘monologue’ or ‘one-person show’ this is your invitation to have your opinions changed and discover all that the format has to offer.
From the opening of the interrogation, Bruni begins to spin a story that goes back to her early career where a breakdown and an eating disorder led to her being impossibly thin and incredibly successful, before her 20s turned to her 30s, her 30s turned to her 40s, the roles dried up and she found herself working in a friend’s boutique.
The savage, pinpoint accuracy of her observations combined with the self-awareness and self-deprecation of Bruni’s character hooks you in before she even starts to talk about the Psycho production and its acclaimed director.
When she does, the story takes in more strands. She is called back after an audition for the Janet Leigh role but, rather than being offered a second reading, she is asked to read Norman Bates’ lines while other, younger actresses read the role she knows she can play.
Still, she idolises the director, as well as despising the Netflix starlet that seems to be his first choice, and accepts the offer. They work on character development in the hotel room where the director will eventually meet his fate.
The whodunnit or why they did it are really the sideshow to the wider story. The Psycho storyline works as a perfect accompaniment and backdrop to the narrative, but even if you’ve never seen the film, you can still be gripped by the drama unfolding before you and the person who is telling it.
A must see show.
Traverse, to 28 August (not 8th, 15th, 22nd)