There’s a stool on stage and nothing else, but Emily Bruni will still take you on a journey. Bruni is a master storyteller, and she paints a vivid picture in your mind as her performance brings to life the characters and scenarios she’s describing.

Psychodrama, written and directed by Matt Wilkinson, is a monologue delivered by Bruni. The premise surrounds a middle-aged actress, who makes ends meet by working at a fashion boutique, when she finally gets a call to audition for a stage adaptation of Alfred Hitchcock’s Psycho.

Bruni’s character starved herself throughout her 20s, and therefore received great roles. Which highlights how cruel and superficial this industry can be, something the monologue continually calls attention to if you read between the lines. She’s had to take on this job in fashion, due to the lack of jobs she is receiving now she’s in her 40s. The character is obsessed with designer labels, frequently describing to the audience in detail what a character is wearing.

Bruni’s character is auditioning to play Marion Crane, and to prepare she has memorised every detail from the infamous shower scene. The production’s director Peter Coevorden has a unique way of working, in which he rehearses one on one with the actress. Very soon Peter is murdered, and Bruni’s character finds herself tangled up in the drama.

This monologue is delivered by Bruni with intensity and passion. The lighting design by Elliot Griggs creates an atmosphere of suspense. The sound design by Gareth Fry ingeniously incorporates some of the music from the film. Both the lighting and sound work together perfectly to set the scene and impart the intend feeling right in the pit of audience’s stomachs.

Psychodrama comes to quite an abrupt ending, so much so that members of the audience took a few moments to realise it was the end and begin applauding. This is also a performance that will leave you with a great deal to think about after Bruni has taken her bow. There’s much to unpack here and it requires a degree of concentration – however Bruni will ensure you are gripped throughout.

Bruni is a naturally gifted storyteller; she brings the amusingly cynical script to life and is simply spectacular. Psychodrama combines Hitchcock’s classic with a thriller, and it works incredibly well.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

{🎟 AD – PR invite – Tickets were gifted in exchange for an honest review}

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