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Theatre Sarah, Lowry Theatre Salford

Play highlights importance of talking therapy in tackling mental health issues

SARAH is a troubled young woman. Unsure where she fits in, her world is spinning out of control. Happiness would be a kind word from her mum but her mother has other concerns, like how to get Sarah out so she can give her room to her new cat.

An exploration of how the difficulties of modern life can affect a person’s mental well-being, Sarah is written, directed and produced by Stevie Helps, whose previous play Rachel dealt with his own experiences of living with mental health problems and the inadequacy of the support systems.

In this play Helps, a vocal campaigner for mental health rights, examines the pernicious impact of a masculine culture on women but the overarching theme is communication or, more accurately, the lack of it.

It looks at the way we often talk in euphemisms rather than saying what we actually mean and how this leads to frustration and anger.

Strikingly, the play opens with a young woman led to a table in handcuffs. Sitting at the same table is a women itching to vent her anger on the prisoner and the narrative then shifts back and forth over five years, replaying the events leading to the young woman’s incarceration.

In exploring a number of important issues, but possibly too many, the play is somewhat rough around the edges and a few edits to sharpen the dialogue might create a clearer focus for the action.

Periodically, the narrative is interspersed with live singing from the very talented Kat Rawling, whose delightful voice punctuates proceedings with some poignant ballads.

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