Iron Crow Theatre stages Sarah Kane's disturbing, engrossing '4.48 Psychosis'

It is impossible to avoid thinking about Sarah Kane's suicide by hanging in 1999 at the age of 28 when encountering the British playwright's final work, "4.48 Psychosis."

There's something at once real and surreal, disturbing and absorbing, about this roughly hour-long examination of mental illness, qualities that Iron Crow Theatre seizes upon in a darkly evocative production directed by Ryan Clark at Theatre Project.

Kane's non-linear play is a kind of manic prose poem about people in various stages of mental illness; warnings and pleas seem to haunt every line. All of this requires a well-matched ensemble, which Iron Crow has assembled: Katie Keddell, Che Lyons, and Nick Horan (he is especially effective carrying out choreographic moves woven through the staging).

The three actors, clad in hospital-evoking white, delve into the material with considerable intensity and nuance. Their naturalness helps make each fear and revelation in the text, each grasp for answers, ring true. 

The production, subtly lit by Alec Lawson, relies too much on cliched electronic music for effect, but various projections (by Travis Levasseur) add much to the queasy mood.

Performances continue through Oct. 18 at Theatre Project.

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