The Bunker Theatre – until 7 July, Tuesdays and Fridays
Reviewed by Claire Roderick
Paper creatures’ Section 2 is a well-meaning attempt at portraying the impact of mental health issues on family and friends, but it is more worthy then entertaining.
Peter Imms focuses on the events of the 28th day of Cam’s time under Section2 in hospital. This is the day that his girlfriend finds out if he is coming home to her or faces up to 6 months more of treatment. After an action-packed life in the army and playing rugby, there is no obvious reason for Cam’s illness, and Kay needs someone or something to blame. After 5 years of no contact, Cam has called old schoolfriend Pete to visit him at the hospital. This allows a lot of exposition about Cam’s condition, and Jon Tozzi does an impressive job portraying the incredulity and initial ignorance of the worried friend and serves as a trigger for Kay’s emotional outbursts. Nathan Coenen and Esmé Patey-Ford have some lovely scenes as Cam and his nurse Rachel, tenderly showing the humour and humanity co-existing with the mental illness. Unfortunately, Kay is overwritten, cramming so much melodrama into the role that Alexandra Da Silva has a struggle on her hands keeping the character sympathetic. I am not making light of the awful experience trying to help and cope with a partner suffering from a mental illness, it’s just that Imms has thrown everything but the kitchen sink at the role. In a longer, 2-act play with more room for all characters and plot to grow, this would probably work, but in a 60-minute production a more measured approach would have much more impact and truth. Da Silva has a magnificent meltdown when she is fighting against Cam staying in hospital, but her almost immediate turnaround seems rushed and this, followed by a montage leading to Cam’s eventual release just makes the whole production feel as if a longer play has been savagely cut to fit into this timeslot.
Although a little clunky at the moment, there is a lot of promise in Section 2, which would come to fruition in an extended cu