Tuesday, 16 August 2016

"Mind Game" by Tabs Productions.
Nottingham Theatre Royal.
The final play in the Tabs Producrions Colin McIntrye's Classic Thriller Season 2016 is "Mind Game" by Anthony Horowitz.
Year on year Tabs shows get better and better and this year they go out on a real high note.
Mark Styler (Andrew Ryan), a writer of "true crime" stories arrives at the Fairfields experimental hospital for the criminally insane, with the hope of interviewing serial killer Easterman for a new book. He meets Dr. Alex Farquhar (Michael Sherwin), the hospital director, however things don't seem quite right. The doctor is reluctant to let Styler see Easterman, and encourages Styler to leave.
Styler, however refuses to leave, using the excuse that he had been travelling for three and half hours and Farquhar had then kept him waiting for two hours,and would like a cup of tea. This was brought in by Nurse Paisley ( Sarah Wynne Kordas), who seems to be very edgy around Farquhar. Why could that be? Why did Farquhar seem to be unaware of the appointment with Styler? There are too many coincidences afoot which makes Styler uneasy about being in the place, but is everyone who they really seem, and if not who are these three people?
This is one of the best thrillers that i've seen and in the true sense of a good thriller, just when you think you have sussed the plot out, something, or someone, does or says something to make you think again.
Not only is the plot the kind to play with your mind, but keep your eyes on the set because things change as the play progresses and there seem to be eyes watching you, watching them, amongst other things. Very subtle and unnerving at the same time, and thanks to Liam Banks who, by way of projected images, keeps you questioning what you think you see or have seen.
There's a brilliant twist at the end which I certainly didn't see coming, and even after the final bows, kept you questioning your own decisions as to who was who and why?
Directed by Karen Henson, she manages to keep that suspense going throughout and I found myself gripping the seat arms and giving my eyeballs a workout trying to take, not only the action and story in but the subtle set changes as well. The set design another triumph for Sarah Wynne Kordas.
The three actors were, as usual, excellent in their parts and kept the senses heightened with their characterisation of who (or is that whom) they made us believe they were.
If you've never seen any of the Classic Thriller Seasons in the past, make this your introduction to an absolutely brilliant production company and their excellent work. I guarantee that, like me, you'll already be looking forward to next year's plays with great anticipation.
"Mind Game" is being performed by Tabs Productions at the Nottingham Theatre Royal until Saturday 20 August 2016. 

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