Geraldine Alexander's debut play opened at the Print Room last week
Geraldine Alexander's play examines the consequences behind both impulse and restrictive actions. In her protagonist, Catherine, there is plenty of restriction: she's an over-worked lawyer, tired of family life and in need of a fix-me-up. She finds that in Joshua - a twenty-something she meets on the bus.
He is cavalier, and the impulsive part of the pairing: a quick-talker and a fiery romantic, Joshua quickly initiates an affair which opens up a whole can of worms for psychiatrist Simon, called in to untangle the mess Catherine's left in when the after-hours romance takes a dark turn.
Despite Alex Lanipekun's Joshua and Jasper Britton's Simon carrying their roles well, Amygdala is a case study on Catherine, from her breakdown to her eventual moral upturn. This doesn't make this a play about women, although Alexander's depiction of a female in crisis is utterly convincing. Hermione Gulliford's acting is as responsible for this success as anything else, dealing with the play's sturdiest moments with ease.
When the script soars to these heights, which it does on multiple occasions including the pivotal moment when Catherine describes the burning of her house, you feel a disarming tension and a real sense of threat. With this in mind, some of the plays other more verbose moments struggle to ignite.
Whilst the cosy setting excellently serves the character-driven plating up of moral debasement through language, the production could benefit from a couple of extra bits and pieces on stage, perhaps placing something iconic and red to fan the flames of the house fire may have drawn me further into the horror of such a thing.
Rightly, there is nothing final about the way the leads are left, halfway through the staid battles of the court room; some meagre brick walls with the power to decide who to blame. As the psychiatrist - knotted into a similar predicament as Catherine's at the play's beginnings - muses on love, there is a sense that perhaps we should allow ourselves to negotiate the bumpy path through life with a tad more grace.
Read our 20 questions with the play's author Geraldine Alexander here