New play explores mental health issues

The world premiere of the bleakly comic, psychological thriller Mites from James Mannion comes to Tristan Bates Theatre this October.

This absurdist piece is a sinister exploration of the manipulation which can underpin relationships, and especially considers the impact of this upon the mentally vulnerable in society. The production will star Claire Marie Hall (The Grinning Man, West End), Richard Henderson (Cursed, Netflix) and George Howard as Ken (The Comedy of Errors, UK tour).

A lonely woman, abandoned by her husband, lives in an isolated house with her outspoken, anthropomorphic cat, Bartholomew. One day she is visited by Ken, a pest controller, who claims to be her ex-husband returned to her. Deceived by his lies and obsessed with memories of the past, the woman accepts Ken into her life, despite the sceptical protestations of Bartholomew. As her self-deception grows and Ken’s true intentions become clear, how will she survive the competitive machinations of her two male companions? And is there more to Bartholomew than meets the eye?

Director Marcus Marsh said: “I am really excited to maintain Blueleaf Theatre’s ethos of developing new writing, working with emerging playwrights and creatives. James has produced a ground-breaking script in Mites which tackles mental health head on and the absurdist style of the piece means it is something we are sure an audience will have never seen on stage before.

“The play’s exploration of the manipulation in relationships and the effect this has on an individual’s mental health are issues both James and I feel are very important in today’s society. We hope this production widens the conversation and provokes discussion amongst audiences.”

An allegorical interpretation of mental health based on personal experiences, Mites explores the emotional turmoil which accompanies descent into mental instability. It creates a web of mistrust, intrigue and control using an absurdist narrative to mirror the disorientating panic, paranoia and helplessness. It is a psychological thriller which centres on a worsening spiral of manipulation and gaslighting. Mites is an eviscerating take on the predatory and the vulnerable, autonomy and delusion which pushes boundaries and throws probing questions up in the air.

Tristan Bates Theatre, 1A Tower Street, WC2H 9NP, Monday, October 7, to Saturday, October 26, 7.45pm. Details: 020 3841 6600 actorscentre.co.uk

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