Unfussy and rich – that’s what Eating Myself is, in a good way. Although, one of the key takeaways from this one-woman show is that no rich Peruvian dish goes without a fuss. Eating Myself is an endearing monologue by Pepa Duarte about food that navigates the intersections between body stereotypes, family, traditions and cuisine.
The stage is flooded in red light, ‘angry-chick’ music plays, and four women (Rachel Ferguson, Kirby Merner, Léonie Crawford and Chloe Pidhoreckyj) are eating what looks like chorizo slices with their faces pierced by disgust, fear, sadness, and anger. I feel like I might be watching the B+15 rated version of Pixars’ Inside Out, specifically the inside of an angry, feminist cannibal. Just when I wonder where Joy is, a frenzied character bursts in (Daisy Kelly, also the playwright), bringing some more food that the group rejects. We discover that it’s the flesh of a banker they’re eating, supposedly as a stand against capitalism. Violet, who kindled the revolutionary spark but is now sat silently, is forced to confess that it was not her rebellious spirit that inspired her but an episode of sexual harassment from the banker, also her former boss.
BIG is a fun, tongue-in-cheek look at society’s relationship with food, how we are perceived by others and our growing issues with mental health. This production seems to be in the early stages of its development, but with the correct support, has the potential to become a hilarious piece of theatre with a powerful commentary on dieting, wellbeing and celebrity culture – topics that are ever growing in importance and with impact on young people, and society more widely.
Two mouldering animal carcasses dangle from butchers hooks at the back of the stage. Glistening fat and muscle clinging to white bone waits to be turned into an expensive meal, then served at the high-concept restaurant’s table for two in the foreground. But fuzzy, green patches around the edge of the larger, more exposed dead body exude an unsettling energy – this meat is old, with the mould indicating a deeper, more insidious rot that’s not so easy to cut out.
Where can you go when you’re stuck in a dead end job? What do you do when you feel all hope is lost? Why is my boss an asshole? Current, meaningful and true to life, Godfrey will answer these questions and make you feel just about everything possible.
The play opens with three, young lads playing games. As it reaches dinner time they begin to debate whose country’s food is better: Jamaica, Cameroon or Ghana? This is the basis of Jollof Wars – an argument between two families that will see relationships broken and mended. Focusing on the engagement of a Ghanaian man to a Nigerian woman, Jollof Wars gives a witty yet poignant insight into how culture influences our choices, and in turn impacts the rest of our lives.
“It’s a sexy song about eating.” Francesca Forrestal says to the front row, before Oddball begins. She’s referring to “Bon Appetite” by Katy Perry that plays on a pre-set loop. At the same time, she’s limbering up – swinging her arms, chatting nonchalantly with the audience, and building a familiar relationship she carries throughout the performance – when the show has begun and latecomers enter halfway through one of her speeches, she unflinchingly welcomes them and instantly settles back into the script as though nothing happened. The ease with which she captivates and holds the room is enchanting in itself.
As I stand to leave, my foot lands on something soft as it squashes into the ground. I pick up my shoe to see a glistening, pink strawberry, now jam, on the floor. That’s a shame, I think to myself. I could have eaten that.
In an unnamed kingdom long ago, the prince celebrates ruling for 1000 days despite a prophesy saying that his reign will only be that long. He is convinced he defeated the fates, so has invited his citizens – nobles and peasants – to explore the wonders of his palace in a night of feasting and debauchery. Exploiting the Vaults’ atmospheric tunnels, writer Cressida Peever draws on Edgar Allan Poe and the Brothers Grimm to create this promenade and gently immersive, dark fairytale.
Zara lives with Alice, her best friend from uni. They work for the same law firm and party with the same friends, but their similarities largely end there. Alice is white and from a wealthy family, whereas Zara’s parents are working class, Muslim refugees from the Middle East. The class and race differences between the two women add to the increasing pressure on Zara to live up to the opposing ideals of the two cultures she inhabits, making her feel out of place in both. But how long can she keep up this balancing act before the strain becomes too much to manage?