Goodstock (4 stars)

This article is from 2015


Worthy but playful thoughts on cancer

Tracing one family's genetic predisposition towards breast cancer, Lost Watch's Goodstock is an optimistic, if occasionally melancholic, journey through one woman's family history. Looking at the family tree – and the number of women who suffered and died – it celebrates the advances in medical science and presents plenty of information about the condition without becoming maudlin.

With three performers taking on various roles, the story jumps between times and personal tales, presenting both a broad sketch of the issues and their impact on individuals. Witty and charming, with bursts of energetic music, Goodstock centres around the decision to have a mastectomy, which would reduce the risk for the heroine, but has obvious implications for her sense of self-esteem. It's rare to make descriptions of cosmetic surgery dispassionate and witty, but Goodstock manges this by illustrating the cuts on a plastic overcoat. The ensemble's energy keeps the mood buoyant, even when tragedy strikes.

As an introduction to the scientific understanding of illness, Goodstock is educational, entertaining and a lively, intelligent performance. The company's commitment to a serious discussion is clear – it is even possible to buy a 'special seat' with the price going to breast screening services – but the imaginative story-telling and the good humour of the cast makes this more than a worthy trawl through ideas.

Pleasance Courtyard, 556 6550, until 31 Aug, 2pm, £8.50 - £9.50 (£7.50 - £8.50)


  • 4 stars

Lost Watch in association with Greenwich Theatre I'm 26. Three women in my family have a cancer-causing genetic mutation. One of them is old, one is me and the other is dead. In four years time, I have some options. Basically this is a play written about my relatives without their permission. They won't mind***. *BRCA1.…