Mess (3 stars)

This article is from 2012


Catherine Horton's play about anorexia is a modest, self-conscious three-hander

A play about anorexia nervosa, written and (in part) performed by a young woman who was once very unwell with the eating disorder, might seem like one of those Fringe shows which should be avoided as resolutely as anything involving Les Dennis. However, as the author/actor is Caroline Horton (writer of the acclaimed You’re Not Like the Other Girls Chrissy), such instinctive scepticism would be misplaced.

From the early point in this play when the character of Boris (played by the hilariously un-masculine Hannah Boyde) announces the subject matter, and begs the audience not to leave, it’s clear that Horton (who plays anorectic young woman Josephine with subtlety, fragility and pathos) has written her play with an emphasis on humour and emotional engagement. So it proves as Sistahl (Seiriol Davies) accompanies the play, on keyboard and in song, with a deliciously eccentric performance.

This is a modest, self-conscious three-hander, in which it is impossible not to empathise with Boris’s desperate attempts to help his friend, or, indeed, Josephine’s almost fatal attraction to the separation from society which anorexia gives her.

Traverse, 228 1404, until 26 Aug (not 20), times vary, £17--£19 (£12--£14).


Olivier Award nominee Caroline Horton's play about anorexia and recovery. Ages 13+.

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