Sensitive portrayal of a woman’s experience of cancer
This article is from 2011.
Chickenshed is not a company to shy away from difficult or painful subject matters. Previous shows have dealt with knife crime and the true story of a 19-year-old boy who was killed while fleeing a robbery scene. Here they lay bare a woman’s experience of breast cancer in a candid piece combining theatre and dance, which neither patronises its audience nor victimises its protagonist as it charts the stages of her illness.
Rachel Yates gives a strong and hugely sensitive performance as the woman whose relationships with her husband and daughter fracture and heal as her cancer progresses. A chorus of dancers flows through the domestic scenes, an ever present force hanging over the family, sometimes suffocating, sometimes supporting, at other times mirroring one another like archetypes or frenetically throwing themselves around to nightmarish electro sounds.
Using recordings from interviews with cancer patients, doctors and nurses, Chickenshed shows the support provided by the medical profession while also documenting its unavoidable horrors – the vulnerability of having to appear naked in front of doctors and the fear inside a surgical theatre. Communicating as much information as it does emotion, this is a piece with true integrity from a company with true compassion.
Zoo Roxy, 662 6892, until 28 Aug (not 17, 24), 5.15pm, £9–£10 (£7–£8).