“Hell must be a heart filled with unheard stories…”

Bethlem Royal Hospital, the Criminal Wing for the Insane. 1854. Two Doctors, Charles Hood and George Haydon, are angered by the cruel, inhumane treatment of patients. They struggle to reform old fashioned attitudes with more a progressive outlook.

Care rather than restraint. Talking rather than punishment. Their relationship becomes increasingly strained as Haydon adopts a more radical approach, now known as psychotherapy. Two patients, Richard and Emily, are caught in the middle as they attempt to demonstrate their innovative theories and battle with the repressive authorities.

Emily looks dreamily up. Dadd in the background
Ward Sister Grey reads her Bible

Emily, a bright and brilliant poet has been wrongly incarcerated by her domineering husband. Richard, a talented artist suffers from psychosis and wrestles with a history that haunts him. Both have been banished from the world. We watch their struggle to find a voice amidst the roar and clamour of madness, both from outside and within. Will Talking ease their troubled minds or crack them completely?

In a time blighted by NHS cuts to mental health care, Talk is at once a scathing rebuke of treatment of the mentally ill in the past, and a moving and thought-provoking story about how we inter-relate and connect with one another in the present.

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© 2019 by Parrot Theatre Company.