Anti-Depressed? - Edinburgh Fringe 2019 Review (Pop Heart Productions and Happenings Theatre Company)

Image result for anti depressed edfringe
Photo credit: Pop Heart Productions

"Anti-Depressed?" is an immersive piece of theatre, that is a blend of sketch based and long form stories. There are 2 main elements to the play: the first, and foremost, is a "drug trial" that the whole audience are said to be a part of. They give you a tic tac on the way in to "take". It's very cool. The second part is the counselling sessions of the 3 actors, and whilst the drug trial bits are (intentionally) over the top and funny, these really bring the tone down (in a good way) and discuss some important points.

A particular highlight was the "lab's" new Headspace equivalent of audio meditation. It was just so funny, and really highlights the awful copies of Headspace and other good services, for when people fancy themselves as a bit of a life coach with no qualifications. If you don't go and see the show, just meditate to this track. It's really funny:

There was a LOT of audience participation. Some of it was really funny, but a lot of it also felt a bit forced. If there was one piece of feedback I'd have for the production going forward, it would probably be to focus on the audience participation which was actually fun and creative, rather than the bits where it felt like "let's pick on the audience". With that said, their improvised responses to the audience participation were very good, but I can imagine the show wouldn't work as well with a less willing audience.

Another interesting parallel throughout the play was between those counselling sessions and lab sessions, in terms of the statistics used. Statistics are used a lot throughout the play, and in the lab they are extremely fabricated, and then in the counselling sessions, real stats from the real world are used. It was a very nice touch.

In an age of everyone having someone close to them that has had mental issues, if not them, this play puts an important and fun spin on the hospital side of that world. I really recommend you see this - is it a life changing piece of  theatre? Perhaps not, but it's certainly an excellent and entertaining way to spend an hour.

"Anti-Depressed?" definitely hits the mark in terms of sensitivity, comedy and contrast, but perhaps lacks behind on the fine-tuning of the audience participation.

Verdict: ★★★★

"Anti-Depressed?" runs daily at theSpace on Northbridge - Fife Theatre, through to the 17th August at 14:35.

By Lewis Forman


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