@ Assembly Roxy, Edinburgh, on Tue 12 May (and touring)

Catharsis and an unwavering equilibrium are achieved when an outside entity breaks the metaphorical fourth wall, metaphysically forcing us to explore emotions outwith the norm. This kind of meditative state is required to endure writer/performer Fiona Geddes‘ very courageous, bold, and vivid exploration of the oscillating schizophrenic mind.

Perfectly replicating Stanislavski‘s dictum that ‘an actor should approach a role as directly as possible and then see if it lives’, Geddes moves about the stage with alacrity, and an evocative nature apt for the content of the piece, quickly immersing the spectator into the life of Kirsty, and her touching, candid, and at times terrifyingly brutal story of her mother’s struggle with the one subject no one wants to mention.

The simple stage setting in Normal/Madness, brilliantly presented by Kidder Theatre Company, forces the audience to use their imagination to re-create the pictures the performer is trying to portray. This is made easier by Fiona’s flippant personality, her brilliant diversity for accents and varying physiognomy.

The beautiful pathos involved in her touching relationship with bi-polar Patrick, as they desperately yearn for a family, but perpetually worry about the ramifications their co-existing genes might have for the baby’s future, is tearful and comical in equal measure; further supplemented by her incongruous phone conversations, and excellently researched contrasting medical views, meaning this short one person play is packed with enough variety to keep the audience transfixed throughout.

This brave, edgy, and omniscient script – written by a rising (if not already risen) Scottish talent, and littered with poignancy, love, and the occasional flutter of humour – is one stage writing debut everyone should enjoy.