When Theatre Modo director Martin Danziger was diagnosed with cancer, his stay on the wards clearly taught him many things, not least of which, at least according to this near-wordless devised show performed by professional clown doctor Suzie Ferguson, is that if you’re going to meet your maker, do so in a clean pair of pants.
This is but small beer, however, as Ferguson leads us through one night of tedium and torpor beneath the bedclothes. Once her heavy duty literature has become a bore and there’s no chocolates left, our patient in waiting gets through solitary confinement the best way she can. Beyond the delirium, dream states and near-death experiences, this involves an extended tango with a mobile drip on which is pasted the picture of some celebrity magazine hunk. That and the choirs of angels.
As the current wave of work looking at loss and grieving runs on unabated, Danziger and Ferguson have created one of the wittiest and incisive dissections of the pains of serious illness to date. Punctuated throughout by Marcus Britton’s recorded score, which moves from systems-style repetition to marching band jauntiness, Sick plays out the full absurdity of not being allowed to be responsible for one’s own actions while remaining wide awake to the ridiculousness of the situation.
Ferguson is a delight over the hour-long duration of this witty and charmingly accurate portrayal of one of the most depressing places on earth. Visiting time for this quirkily life-affirming wake-up call recommences at The Tron, Glasgow, on March 31.
Star rating: ****