Give Me Your Love by Ridiculusmus at Battersea Arts Centre

As part of a series of three investigations into advancements in mental health treatment, Ridiculusmus have put together their second piece, exploring the current medical investigations into the treatment of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) through the use of MDMA assisted therapy. Ridiculusmus double team, David Woods and Jon Haynes, wrote, directed and performed Give Me Your Love.

How they planned to do this seemed complex; were they just going to have someone in a shrink’s room taking MDMA and explaining their problems? Certainly not. Instead we meet Zach, back at home in Wales from the war, confined to a cardboard box, unable to leave his room or connect with his family. Having heard of a trial to use MDMA to treat PTSD on CNN, he gets his friend Leuan to get him some Ecstasy.

Give Me Your Love was interestingly staged in a grotty little room. We almost never see the actors’ faces. Zach is permanently in his cardboard box, whilst Leaun is permanently shut out of the room. Zach is unwilling to unlatch the chain on the door to let him in.

What was impressive was the subtlety with which the production revealed the possibilities of this therapy. There was a positive improvement in the mood of Zach under the influence of MDMA, and his ability to communicate and relate to his friend. Simple gestures like the relaxing of his body when lying on the floor in his box and crossing one leg over the other whilst listening to the Beach Boys were enough to show us things were getting better. Furthermore the actual cause of his PTSD is not something that we anticipate and it raises our awareness about the root causes of PTSD.

Throw in the Welsh accent and its light humour and we are given a moving piece of theatre with occasional dark comedy, investigating this particular therapy  not to mention the wider argument about the use of illegal drugs in modern society.

Extremely good follow up to ‘The Eradication of Schizophrenia in Western Lapland’ by Ridiculusmus. We look forward to the final part of their three-pronged investigation. As the title suggests, maybe what these war vets need is just a bit of love. What better way to help them than with a drug that improves personal connections whilst creating a sense of euphoria, generally simulating the feeling of love.

Highlight of the show – The first time Zach hears music. The audience, along with Zach, were instantly calmed. A very tangible, if contrived, sense of something working.

WIGS 4/5


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