Mental: 'Creates the intimacy of a hug from an old friend' (3 stars)

Mental

Absorbing show exploring a young man's relationship with his bi-polar mother

Kane Power was ten when he first saw his mum, Kim, have a manic episode. Unable to deal with it emotionally due to his tender years, he was more concerned on what his little pal would think.

It's this conversational tone that sets the scene for Power's touching, often humorous, and raw production. He sings wry electropop, looping his voice with keyboards to invoke the way the brain fragments during particularly fraught bouts of mania.

Disturbing voicemails bookend the show, as Kim, who struggled to cope after losing her sister in her youth, berates her son for ignoring her, or talks in wild circular rants. It's in these moments, and a beautifully constructed beat poetry segment, when the show hits hardest, as symptoms become indivisible from the person. A graph showing mood fluctuations is deftly deployed, providing a wider context away from Kane and his mother's own experiences. After all, one in four people will suffer from some form of mental disorder.

Power is a likeable enough performer, and kudos to him for debunking a few myths and clichés around mental health, but the whole isn't really theatrical – more a lecture with (insightful) songs and confessions. Yet, it's truly affecting, and he creates the intimacy of a hug from an old friend. These stories deserve to be told.

Tron Theatre run has ended.

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