“The world is ending and it’s happening at table 9…”

Full of innovative physicality and surreal humour, “Hysteria” is a hilarious hour of apocalyptic premonitions and first date awkwardness. Inspired by T. S Elliot’s poem “Hysteria,” the play is an improvised piece developed at the Nightingale theatre. It is exceptionally inventive with superb comic timing.

We are first introduced to a troubled, clumsy waiter whose neuroticism about Judgement Day is very funny and yet equally unnerving. Playing the Waiter without any dialogue, Lucinka Eisler shone with her brilliant use of mime. The Man and Woman’s dinner date conversations are cringingly comical combined with the Waiter’s uncomfortable interruptions. While his academic research is threatening his sanity, she is a party-planning career woman desperate to find a husband and settle down.

Following sell-out success at London’s South Bank and the Edinburgh Festival, the performance at the Lakeside Arts Centre enjoyed a packed audience. Although some audience members were in stitches (and even willing to participate in some unusual ‘relaxation techniques,’) others seemed less impressed with this absurdist humour. However, with its distinctive sound effects and visually exciting physicality, “Hysteria” is highly enjoyable and at the very least shows us the more imaginative ways to eat a banana…

CLARE SALTER

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