As a new charity advocating for those diagnosed with Functional Neurological Disorder (FND) in the UK, we were keen to attend the new Kandinsky production of ‘Still Ill’ at the New Diorama Theatre in London. Still Ill explores the complexities of being diagnosed with a condition which appears to have no physical cause despite all the diagnostic tests.
Sophie Steer, Hamish MacDougall and Harriet Webb played a variety of roles which created an interesting, intertwined storyline surrounding the main character, Sophie, and her developing functional neurological symptoms.
We saw Sophie playing the role of an aspiring actor who, without a clear explanation, finds herself in a position of having to seek help for her unusual symptoms. She is in the difficult position of playing various medical roles (look out for Bernard) whilst becoming increasingly ill herself. This allowed us a glimpse into the various impacts that her illness has on her and her career. Sophie was frustrated dealing with symptoms and appeared to lack support or to have a good understanding of FND, which led inevitably to searching tirelessly for explanations as her symptoms increased. Many people with the FND diagnosis may recognise various elements of this story in their own experiences.
The story concluded with Sophie showing some improvement and being able to cope better. It doesn’t set out to offer explanations, but then we know that FND is not straight forward. The play is an innovative, multi-level performance using sound and visuals in an intelligent and commanding way.
“Well done James (Associate Director) for your great effort in producing this play, and to all those involved. The production clearly took a lot of thought and research to convey the many difficulties people face with FND, in a meaningful way and played out by inspiring actors. We wish the Kandinsky theatre company all success with their future ventures” ~ Kim Hearne, FND Action
“The play was an excellent representation of the complexities of FND, highlighting the frustrations of knowing something is wrong, yet needing to see several medical professionals before a diagnosis and being left with little understanding of what is happening. The play was performed with humour and intensity. Truly a great production” ~ Chrissie Moring, FND Dimensions
“Still Ill is a highly entertaining and thought provoking play which also manages to sensitively convey what a severe, important and complex diagnosis FND is to the general public. This play will surely be a success and be of great help in the critical task of raising public awareness of FND.” ~ Dr Tim Nicholson, Clinical Lecturer & Consultant Neuropsychiatrist, London
Still Ill is on until 19th November so do try and get along to see it if you can. Please note the play is approx. 1 hour and 40 minutes long. The theatre is fully accessible.