Vico, Douglas Taylor’s original drama which premiered on Tuesday at the BT, is best described as a chilling journey into the psyche of the human mind. The play unfolds in the apparently sanitised safety of a Psychiatrist’s office. Vico, the protagonist, captivates the audience from her first appearance as Finn, our psychiatrist’s prospective patient. Her litany of psychological disorders ranges from parental complexes to psychopathic tendencies.
However, it soon becomes apparent that Vico is not your ordinary patient: she intends to reverse the sessions and transform them into a psychological exposé on Finn herself. Many things are left somewhat unexplained at the end, but this is simply because there is so much more to this play than the rudimentary details of the ploy.
Vico’s dark humour is mesmerising, yet also genuinely amusing in places, ranging from psychoanalytical puns to nothing more complicated than mimicking Finn. There are moments which don’t work so well, such as the ventures into sexual psychology, but all in all it is a fantastically well-written play, and the ending provides a shocking, yet fascinating way of tying the play into what Vico herself calls the ‘Circle of Life’.
As far as the production itself goes, the acting was of very good quality from top to bottom. Even the male characters, both of whom were slightly two-dimensional in the writing, were performed convincingly (with Douglas Taylor appearing in a Hitchcockesque cameo as one). Sarah Abdoo’s Vico grabbed attention from beginning to end with her mad yet engaging caprices, but the highlight was possibly the psychological deterioration of the uptight Finn, played by Kimberly Sadovich.
The staging was sparse, minimal and elegant, but this helped the audience immerse themselves in the characters’ psyche, without distraction. Alex Mogull’s immersive “soundscape” lent a rumbling unease to the atmosphere. All in all, I would implore anyone to go and see this as an example of the best kind of student drama, and it would be a shame if it were limited to the 22 of us who saw it on the first night.