Incognito

Published May 16, 2014

What’s it all about?

Remember Nick Payne’s Olivier Award nominated play Constellations, which opened to acclaim at the Royal Court in 2012 before wowing West End audiences with its compelling tale of multiverse theory, friendship and honey?

The playwright, who also received a nomination at this year’s Olivier Awards with MasterCard, is back with another fascinating and intellectual drama, which, in a similar way to Constellations, offers brief snapshots of peoples’ lives in a production that uses light and sound to facilitate a series of swift scene changes.

Instead of the same characters in the same situation playing out a series of different outcomes, Incognito flits between three different years – 1953, 1955 and modern day – exploring the lives of multiple individuals and how their paths interact. The nature of the play, which may seem confusing at first, requires the audience to put together the pieces of the puzzle to connect the stories and decipher the relationships between them.

Who’s in it?

Paul Hickey, Amelia Lowdell, Alison O’Donnell and Sargon Yelda are all faced with the challenge of portraying numerous characters in this intriguing and thought-provoking piece. Hickey interweaves his performance as a pathologist in possession of Albert Einstein’s brain with that of a brain damaged Irishman and a physician (to name just a few), while O’Donnell switches seamlessly between her own abundance of roles, most notably a bubbly Scottish lesbian and the suffering wife of a dementia patient. Lowdell is compelling as a neuropsychologist, the wife of Hickey’s brain thief and Einstein’s illegitimate daughter, but the most moving and memorable performance of the show comes from Yelda, who delivers a heartbreaking portrayal of a man suffering from memory loss.

What should I look out for?

Accents. The four-strong cast map the globe with their impeccable array of dialects, which range from Australian and American to Irish and Mexican.

In a nutshell?

Nick Payne strikes again with a thought-provoking play about the human brain that propels your own noggin into action, asking audiences to piece together each individual strand of the narrative into one cohesive whole.

What’s being said on Twitter?

@jaggedfence #INCOGNITO @bushtheatre is a fascinating, challenging & beautiful piece of writing. Nick Payne is a bit brilliant. And an exceptional cast!

@ThatDesKennedy Incognito at the @bushtheatre is astounding. Belter play. Stunning performances across the board. Totally brain-blowing, @AtotheOD

Will I like it?

Don’t turn up at the Bush Theatre expecting to sit back, relax and enjoy 90 minutes of easy-going theatre. Turn up instead expecting an evening of intellectually challenging drama and you’ll no doubt reap the rewards.

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