All You Need is LSD

Reviewer's Rating

‘All You Need is LSD’ tells the story of the invention of LSD and also of Leo Butlers experiences as a participant on Professor David Nutt’s LSD medical trials.

Formally, the piece is supposed to feel like an acid trip. Despite the intention and the mad set, I never felt any sense of uncertainty or wonder whilst watching the show. It was a series of tangents told in monologue, skit and dialogue, none of which made a particular impression on me other than vague bemusement. For a show that told us it was controversial in its opening remarks, it relied on fairly tired stereotypes, Alice in Wonderland being a reoccurring image, as well as lots of Pink Floyd.

The piece is described as ‘journalistic’ and much of it was telling the stories around the invention and eventual suppression of LSD. Those are the bits that feel the most interesting and fruitful, the flights of fancy that were supposed to emulate tripping acted as a detriment to what worked best about the piece.

The only part of the show that I connected with was the story of the death of the author Aldous Huxley, who requested a dose of acid as he was dying. The dramatisation of his death was genuinely very affecting with brilliant performances from Sophie Mercell and George Potts.

There were so many interesting stories in this show that just felt forgotten in the tangle of the piece. It was a brave attempt at staging something that is perhaps impossible to stage but, despite strong performances from the cast, this show did not pull it off.