Hysteria – UK Tour

The New Vic Theatre hosts an incredibly ambitious piece of theatre as Hysteria graces its presence for what is anticipated to be a splendid opening night. Strict attention must be paid from the audience for this unique piece. The play focuses on Austrian neurologist Sigmund Freud who founded the controversial clinical practise called psychoanalyst. Psychoanalysis is a way of uncovering unconscious thoughts due to psychic action of repression. Freud’s research mainly links with infantile sexuality and abuse of women patients; a theme that Hysteria will uncover in unique ways. Farce and realism are the core ingredients to this play.

Hysteria explores Freud’s meeting with Spanish surrealist artist Salvatore Dali; based on their real life meeting a year before Freud’s death. Hysteria has plenty of history as it was first staged at the Royal Court Theatre in 1993. It was created by the genius of the award winning playwright Terry Johnson. This production stars Ged McKenna as Sigmund Freud, Moray Treadwell as Dr Abraham Yahuda and John Dorney as Salvador Dali. However, tonight had an extremely last minute change of Kathryn Ritchie reading in the role of Jessica as Summer Strallen was too ill to perform.

It does take a quite a while to get in the swing of things whilst watching Hysteria. This performance requires full concentration as missing a single bit could make you lose your place. You will smoothly fit into place as you adapt to the perfectly timed use of the comical and serious scenes. Dali provided very lively comedy and the Doctor’s comments were great to chuckle too. Freud’s lies and dark thoughts do drag you into the play. The performance was very charming as the flow between the four characters were forever consistent and perfectly timed.

The first act does consist of two scenes that open up the mind of Freud’s seduction theory and also Jessica’s garments scattered in his garden. The last act changes the tone as the comedy starts to slowly slip away like a chihuahua on a frozen pond to conclude with a brilliant ending. It’s like a mindmap of the madness that comes with Hysteria. The set was brilliant, especially Freud’s couch… a weird thing to notice, but if you look up pictures it’s close to the real thing. Kathryn Ritchie did a superb job with her last minute role as Jessica, despite reading off a notepad she deserves praise for her professionalism and courage.

Hysteria seems to get better with age as an audience of all mature ages seemed to have enjoyed this piece. The performance does a splendid job to catch you off guard whether it’s serious or not. This mashup of farce and analysis isn’t for the most faint hearted, but Hysteria is a fine example of what contemporary theatre should be. Obviously, contemporary fans with definitely enjoy this along with those curious in learning about the psychoanalysis practice. Hysteria does it’s best to test your emotions whilst drawing you into it’s intellectual farce and madness.

Hysteria plays the New Vic Theatre until Saturday 25th March. To book tickets and for full information visit the New Vic Theatre website. The play is barely part way through it’s tour – there’s plenty of chances to see it around the UK. Visit London Classic Theatre for full tour details.


Sheila Burnett


Sheila Burnett

About Author /

Matthew has been writing for the past 5 years about music, sports and movies and has now finally got his chance to write about theatre. Having previously worked for the likes of Kerrang and Uncut, as well as previously having a radio show for 6 Towns, he has interviewed hundreds of bands throughout his career.

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