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REVIEW: The Wonderful World of Dissocia (Anthony Neilson, Royal Conservatoire of Scotland)

Updated: Feb 11

10 November 2023

New Athenaeum Theatre, RCS, Glasgow

⭐⭐⭐


The Wonderful World of Dissocia by Anthony Neilson, by BA Acting 2023 at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland, Glasgow, November 2023. Photo credit: Robbie McFadzean

The Wonderful World of Dissocia is an absurd, surreal journey through a fantastic, horrifying land. It's bright and colourful, dark and violent. It's Alice in Wonderland on acid!


The two acts of Anthony Neilson's acclaimed play are shockingly visually and tonally different.


In Act I, Lisa travels to Dissocia in search of an hour of time that she has lost. On her adventure she meets Insecurity Guards, a singing bear and a sadistic Scapegoat, among a host of other weird and frankly, frightening characters.


If you know me, you'll know that goats are my favourite animal. Or they used to be! I may never recover from what Anthony Neilson and Seamus Dillane have done to them. Thank you for the nightmares!

The Wonderful World of Dissocia by Anthony Neilson, by BA Acting 2023 at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland, Glasgow, November 2023. Photo credit: Jacob Martin Walls

The word play is clever. 'Insecurity Guards'! - genius. 'Scapegoat', 'Time flies' and 'small hours' for example are inspired. But the joke is taken too far; too much of what at first seemed inventive and amusing is injected at every opportunity. The explanation of 'The Wild Goose chase' didn't land at all and after a while, pun fatigue set in.


Some of the characters and scenes went on too long for me and the humour was not always my cup of tea. There are so many vivid scenes and original characters in Dissocia; I enjoyed the journey, just not necessarily every stop along the way.


The Wonderful World of Dissocia by Anthony Neilson, by BA Acting 2023 at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland, Glasgow, November 2023. Photo credit: Robbie McFadzean

The production is of course expertly presented. The staging, lighting, sound, projections and costumes - all excellent. There are so many props used to great effect; I bet this is a very complex production to stage manage! The use of balloons and the clever, yet subtle SOS message they spell when some are left behind provides a clue as to what's really going on. Dissocia is a visual feast; a chaotic, wonderful assault on the senses.


*Spoilers


The second act by comparison takes place in a bleak hospital room. This is when we realise that Lisa is mentally unwell, and what we have seen in Act I is a result of her being off her meds. A monotony of endless days and nights, of doctors, nurses and drugs is what fills Lisa's life now. The audience is left to ponder if she is actually better off. It's a fascinating exploration of mental health and of one person's fractured psyche.


The Wonderful World of Dissocia by Anthony Neilson, by BA Acting 2023 at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland, Glasgow, November 2023. Photo credit: Robbie McFadzean

The performances are great. Every actor played their roles well, and there are many varied roles for the company to showcase their talents. Lisa Vetta as protagonist Lisa anchors the story superbly in a poised, complex performance. We are introduced to both worlds through her eyes, and her fear, confusion and sometime's glee are always believable and true.


There is a lot to admire in 'The Wonderful World of Dissocia.' The bravery in staging a production such as this is to be applauded. While the source material is not my favourite, I can absolutely appreciate the vision of the writer, and the RCS team deliver it impeccably.


⭐️⭐️⭐️



The Wonderful World of Dissocia by Anthony Neilson, by BA Acting 2023 at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland, Glasgow, November 2023. Photo credit: Jacob Martin Walls

📸 Production photos: Robbie McFadzean and Jacob Martin Walls


 

Cast

Lisa Vetta, Adam Bregman, Ross Flynn, Ava Hickey, Om Nishant Saini, Seamus Dillane, Cara Barton, Kaylah Copeland, Zannie Benfield, Kaireece Denton.


Creative Team

Written by - Anthony Neilson

Directed by - Finn den Hertog

Set Designer - Calum Owens

Costume Designer - Glenn Parkinson

LX Designer - Kai Fischer

Sound Designer - Nommy Soplantila

Video Designer - Joseph Miles

Production Manager - Malcolm Stephen

Stage Manager - Rebecca Munro

Composer - Niall Docherty


The Wonderful World of Dissocia by Anthony Neilson, by BA Acting 2023 at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland, Glasgow, November 2023. Photo credit: Jacob Martin Walls
 

🌟 REVIEW: The Wonderful World of Dissocia (Anthony Neilson, BA Acting 2023, Royal Conservatoire of Scotland, RCS, Glasgow) 🌟


🎟️ Disclosure: I was invited to review this show and received a complimentary ticket in exchange. Whether I am invited or not has absolutely no impact on my reviews or star ratings.


📧 For media and review requests contact Lisa_InTheTheatre@outlook.com

💗 To see more pictures and videos follow @Lisa_InTheTheatre on Instagram


Lisa in the theatre. Scottish theatre reviewer. UK theatre blog. Glasgow Theatre. Edinburgh Theatre. Scotland theatre.

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