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Review: Another Northern Man, Hope Theatre

15 September, 2017 — By Alina Polianskaya

TWO men who are worlds apart collide in one small room.

In the claustrophobic confines of a therapist’s office, Phillip (Justin Stahley) tries to offer expert advice to Noel, a man grieving the loss of his father – his hero. Well-spoken, articulate and somewhat condescending, the well-groomed psychiatrist tries to intellectualise his way through Noel’s issues. But the gruff and angered Northerner is having none of it.

“Never tell your problems to anyone,” he says. “Twenty per cent don’t care and the other 80 per cent are glad you’ve got them.” Little does Phillip know, there is more that connects the two than it first seems.

The small venue, adorned with nothing more than two chairs, a small table and a jug of water for stage dressing, does much to add to the intensity of the situation. The psychiatrist’s office becomes a substitute court room as the men take turns to grill each other, pointing the fingers of blame in a tense face-off. Where did things really go wrong before Noel’s father’s untimely death? And do those that say they care, really give a toss?

This play explores some important and timely topics – mental health, grief and the consequences of a broken and underfunded system that pushes workers to the edge of their limits.

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