The Wonderful World of Dossocia (5 stars)

Seen at Tron Theatre, Glasgow, run ended. Now touring


As children we’re enthralled by adventures to far off lands with tin men, talking animals or witches and wizards, where good overcomes evil. Anthony Neilson’s play appeals to both our childhood imaginings and our adult sensibilities.

Lisa (Christine Entwisle) is on a quest to recover her lost hour which has unbalanced her life. A Swiss watchmaker shows her the way into Dissocia. She encounters a succession of wild characters along the way. It’s not all songs and games, though, as Dissocia is at war with the black dog king and only the mysterious Queen Sarah can save them.

Neilson creates an enchanting world of characters, singing and excitement with a touch of his trademark darkness. The first half is a mesmerising trip through Lisa’s subconscious as she retreats further from the real world, contrasting with the stark white clinical second half, portraying her real self; it’s unsettlingly easy to see why she prefers the excitement of Dissocia to her reality. Neilson offers a unique dual perspective on mental illness and by complying with stereotypes, he manages to challenge them. Entwisle leads a refreshingly versatile cast through the ever shifting landscape of Neilson’s imagination, aided by Chahine Yavroyan’s flawless lighting and Miriam Buether’s inspired design.

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