Barnstaple's Fringe Theatre Festival
June 25th-28th 2015


Documental Theatre & Symbiotic Theatre

Friction is a play which explores post-natal depression through the characters of Sam and Rachel. Georgia Fox Robinson (playing Rachel) and Aidan Casey (playing Sam) were the only two actors; Thomas, the baby, is cleverly represented by a folded blanket and is never actually seen or heard.

The play continually switches between three time frames: the beginning of Rachelís pregnancy, just after Thomas's birth and after Rachel has recovered. During the scenes after Rachelís recovery the actors often seem to take on the role of interviewees Ė as though they are talking about their experiences on a TV show, for instance. This sometimes suddenly changes, however, to an intimate conversation or domestic argument and the audience returns to watching the action rather than being directly addressed by the actors.

The use of changing time frames means there is no clear plot - this play is more of a description and exploration of post-natal depression than a story.

The play is entirely set in Rachel and Samís house, represented by furniture such as a chair, coffee table, cot, etc, and the costumes are those of ordinary people. This all helps create a domestic atmosphere, in which Robinson and Casey manage to develop the very believable characters of Rachel and Sam.

Although there are no scene changes in Friction, the movement in time is ingeniously represented by altering the lighting.

Music, abstract sounds and recordings such as amplified heartbeats are used to involve the audience in the drama and the charactersí feelings, although for me the volume was too loud.

Friction manages to portray the despair of depression and the after-effects of this illness (including the fear of a relapse) yet is ultimately uplifting.

For those who want an honest and very moving insight into post-natal depression, Friction is the show to watch.
Anthea Crane