Nancy Walsh takes us on a chilling journey inside the mind of a fascinating, lucid woman who is slowly losing her grip on reality but thinks quite the opposite. In an astonishing, powerhouse performance by a superb actress (and private investigator in a parallel career), we are made aware of the fine line between reason and unreason.
Susan is a very normal young woman having a very difficult day. She has seen through the mask of symbols and is fighting to decipher a personal and ruthless message from dead gods - while conducting a university lecture in front of a particularly unruly class. The audience is her class and will bear witness, not to a lecture, but to a brave and desperate final struggle against demons only she can see.
A sharp, fast, funny and ultimately harrowing trip into the mind of a woman who suspects she is the only sentient being in existence and, ultimately, feels she is able to prove it. Nancy Walsh, returned to Edinburgh in this heartbreaking and galvanising tour de force. Her husband, John Clancy directed. Two weeks prior to opening, Nancy collapsed during rehearsals and underwent a life saving operation to remove a large brain tumour. Just one month later, with her husband involved in 3 other productions, she insisted on opening her show to critical acclaim. She was given the Jack Tinker Memorial Spirit of the Fringe Award, Edinburgh's highest accolade, a Scotsman Fringe First, and received a nomination from The Stage for Best Actress.
"A frighteningly powerful monologue about a woman who used to live a normal, happy life in Cincinnati with her husband and daughter; but is now going mad with grief in another city, on a university campus where she teaches... .As a portrait of "madness", this show is as heartbreakingly convincing as any I have ever seen... .What's striking about this show, though, is the way in which actress Nancy Walsh and her husband John Clancy, who directs, lead us right into the heart of this agony without creating a show which is itself depressing... Heartbreaking, but energising, pulsating with life, and very, very funny... Despite being diagnosed, just a few weeks ago, with an operable brain cancer and undergoing major surgery... It's a privilege to experience the intensity with which she is able to capture the sense of Susan's suffering, her courage, her humour." (Joyce McMillan - The Scotsman, 17/08/02)
"Nancy Walsh, having triumphed over her own adversity in the run-up to this solo rendition of Don Nigro's play, gives the performance of her life, in turns heartbreaking and hilarious as she grabs out through the mire of her own-self-definition. Yet, despite the intensity, never once does Walsh loses the plot, opting for a more measured delivery that bodyswerves histrionics in favour of the sad, tragic truth of things, where in an empty world, the voices worth listening to aren't always your own." (Neil Cooper - The Herald, 19/08/02)
"This is only about other people, as Nancy Walsh so clearly makes out in a performance which towers with strength and subtlety... Walsh creates in Susan a woman who is utterly lost, alone and out of control in that world. Yet, with tight direction from John Clancy, she also keeps complete control of both her performance and the direction of the play. There is nothing spare or extraneous as she makes her audience believe both that she is Susan and that any one of them could be her too." (Thom Dibdin - The Stage, 22/08/02)
"Nigro's play- here receiving its European premiere- is a beautifully structured, poetic exploration of madness ... Harrowing but also funny and stimulating. A large measure of the credit for this is due to actress Nancy Walsh, utterly believable and heartbreakingly compelling as this smart, witty woman, cleverly choosing madness as a place of refuge from herself." (Alan Radcliffe - The List, 22/08/02)