I arrived at the Kings Head a little dubious as my knowledge of Freud is limited to a fleeting acquaintance over 15 years ago as part of a Drama degree, and the thought of following a one-woman musical on this historical figure felt like quite a challenge!
The show gets off to a slow start with a strangely long overture that would be more suited to a full scale musical rather than a fringe style show. Things don’t really get going until the stand out song ‘Cocaine’ which introduces the audience to Freud’s addiction, obsession and psychopathic tendencies. This is a fantastic song, which the audience really gets on board with. The story starts to gain momentum and the audience is carried along by the fearless enthusiasm of Sutton-Williams with some lovely moments of light and shade creating some big laughs.
The challenge of portraying numerous characters from Freud’s psyche seems to be a struggle for Sutton-Williams with the introduction of ‘Oedipussy’ a clever interpretation of Freud’s Oedipus complex. There is initially not enough distinction between the two characters. However, this is soon overcome as we are introduced to a bawdy cast of social misfits, most of whom are unable to control their array of carnal urges. She moves between these characters with skill and ease.
The transitions between dialogue and songs were handled particularly well as they seem to flow seamlessly all with lots of laughs. However, the last song falls a little flat and lacks the comedy content of the audience had previously enjoyed, this is a shame as the show deserved to finish with the vigor and comedy of the rest of the performance.
The music throughout is excellent, although there was a potential opportunity missed in Freud not interacting with the excellent pianist Phil Blandford, as this could have provided another dimension to the show? In addition, the use of the multi-track recorder was a little uncertain, as it doesn’t seem to be used enough to make it relevant.
My initial doubts about the subject proved unfounded, as despite the slow start which could benefit from some tighter direction, this was a thoroughly entertaining show that did not require any intimate knowledge of Freud, with a committed and compelling performance by Natasha Sutton-Williams.
Reviewer: Kate Mcleod
Written & Performed by: Natasha Sutton-Williams
Directed by: Dominic McHale