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The Theatreguide.London Review

Freud's Last Session
King's Head Theatre    January 2022

Mark St Germain's play Freudís Last Session is set in the London home of the psychologist Sigmund Freud on the 1st of September 1939.

It is the eve of the Second World War and Freud is listening to the worrying radio news of Germany as he waits for the arrival of a visitor, the author C. S. Lewis, who has been slightly delayed by the evacuation to safety of children and others from London

The play, which appeared Off-Broadway in 2010, imagines a conversation between the two men on the eve of Britain going to war and not long before Freudís medically assisted death.

 Lewis (Sťan Browne) is expecting the conversation to be about a satiric piece he wrote about Freud, but Freud (Dr Julian Bird) is more interested in hearing why an intelligent atheist has become a God believer.

There is little small talk as they debate the existence of God, though there are moments of humour. When Freud asks why Lewis should think Christ was God, Lewis replies  'because he said he wasí, to which Freud wonders if Lewis expects him on that basis to believe all the patients he sees who claim they are Christ.

Occasionally they speak about other things such as Freudís escape from Austria and Lewisí experience of the First World War, free love and Freudís inoperable cancer.

Arguments at times become provocative with Freud claiming Jews hide their guilt for killing Moses behind religiosity and at one point asking Lewis if his conversion came at the same time as his newfound virginity when he moved in with his dead best friendís mother. Lewis in turn hints at something unusual about Freudís relationship with his daughter Anna.

It is an intense eighty minute discussion that paints a sympathetic picture of both men and their ideas without ever coming to any conclusions. 

Keith McKenna

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Review -  Freud's Last Session - King's Head Theatre 2022

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