All You Need Is LSD @ The Birmingham Rep
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Leo Butler’s “All You Need Is LSD” is a play combining “history, science, and [Butler’s] own personal history”, in regard to psychedelics. Whilst it had moments of both heaviness and hilarity, it lacked the structure that even the label of an ‘experimental’ play cannot hide.
Image courtesy of the Birmingham Repertory TheatreStarring four actors, who multiroled throughout, the play opens with Annie Fitzmaurice playing writer Leo Butler as he describes his play to Professor Nut (George Potts), and the process it went through to be performed on the Rep stage. This initial dialogue, accompanied with Sophie Mercell appearing from a gap in the stage to recreate a phone call Leo had with the Rep, establishes much of play’s tone. Indeed, the metatheatrics started on quite a humorous note with Jack Hunter appearing amidst the conversation as the personification of the 90s psychedelics scene (a.k.a. Dr Timothy Leary) when mentioned, or much later as Leo’s parents with lines such as, “Oh stop doing that fourth wall shit, they were doing that in ancient Greece.” But this style descended into tedium at certain points, especially with the scene in which (to demonstrate the effects LSD has on time perception) Fitzmaurice and Potts repeated a short dialogue three times. Very much in the vein of, “Very clever, but we get it now”, the play did feel like a series of sketches or drama exercises fashioned together with quite crafty transitions.
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