Told By An Idiot are celebrating their 25th anniversary this year with a little bit of LSD, maybe not literally, but creatively, in the form of their stage production, All You Need Is LSD – and what a celebration it is.
Written by acclaimed British playwright Leo Butler and performed by Told By An Idiot, the show takes a break from reality and delves into the mind bending history of Lysergic Acid Diethylamide on the stage of Liverpool’s Unity Theatre. From Swiss scientist Alfred Hofmann discovering the drug in the 1930s to American psychologist Timothy Leary’s experiments in the 1960s, the story follows the overriding arc of Butler himself entering LSD drug trials in 2015 as research for a play. The performance is a history lesson turned on its head and rather than being barraged with the same old ‘drugs are bad!’ stigma society generally has, All You Need is LSD educates the audience on what the hallucinogenic substance actually does and the effect it has had on our culture, Summer of Love anyone? Along the way, everyone from The Beatles, Aldous Huxley, Doctor Who and Hellen Mirren are thrown down the rabbit hole with the white rabbit, Alice in Wonderland style, to hallucinogenic consequences. It’s as close as you could probably get to an acid trip whilst being sober in a theatre, as blocks of butter fall from the ceiling, cabbages fly through the air and impromptu dance raves break up the non-stop 90 minute show.
Playing with a stream of conscious narrative that blends seamlessly throughout, the cast comprises of Annie Fitzmaurice as a reimagination of Butler, Sophie Mercell switching between Hoffmann and Alice, Jack Hunter who plays a plethora of characters from Leary to the Mad Hatter and is topped off with George Potts, who, whilst popping up as Professor Nutt and Huxley, provides some pretty impressive impressions of The Beatles.
The show keeps the ongoing drugs debate fresh under a wild comedic guise and offers alternative ways of informing people of LSD’s effects, addressing the debate surrounding the decriminalisation of drugs and champions the need for experiments to be performed on LSD to explore avenues of addiction and depression. However, it’s not all about convincing the audience drugs are great, it does touch on the dark side of LSD and advises the audience that entering the metaphorical rabbit hole should be taken with a great deal of caution and sensibility and to maybe take a parachute along for the journey.
Be quick and grab your tickets to the remaining performances of All You Need Is LSD here.