Watching Goldfish Suffocate (Taurus, Manchester)

Watching Goldfish Suffocate needs to be seen, says Helen Jones.

Watching Goldfish Suffocate
Watching Goldfish Suffocate
© Vertigo Theatre Productions

David Degiorgio's acting career was starting to take off when the depression which had been around for most of his life took over.

He began to change from the confident and funny person his family and friends knew to quiet, sad and unfocused. Watching Goldfish Suffocate is based upon Dave's true story of his decline and subsequent diagnosis of psychosis ending in a stay in a mental health hospital to help him get his life back. Dave was encouraged to write his thoughts down while in hospital and these writings are what he has used to develop this play.

In the confined space of Taurus Bar there is no escape from the emotional impact of the play. Every nuance of Dave's decline is covered in raw detail and the impact on his family and friends is not watered down. His own intial determination that nothing was wrong slowly ebbs away as the psychosis takes control.

David Degiorgio reenacts his own decline with a disturbing reality. There is no hiding from what he is going through but it works and triggers both laughter and tears from those watching. He is, quite simply, outstanding.

The other three actors, Richard Allen, David Edward Lock and Celine Constantinides, work incredibly hard to create all the other people involved in Dave's life. They are all superb but it is Richard Allen's portrayal of Dave's internal demon which is most memorable.

Director Craig Hepworth has worked with the actors to produce a piece of theatre which pulls no punches but is all the better for it's harsh impact. David Degiorgio wrote the play to heighten awareness of mental health issues.

This brilliant production needs to be seen and maybe toured to deliver this awareness to as many people as possible.

Watching Goldfish Suffocate is at Taurus until 16 August.