- David Kettle
- 3 August 2017
Harrowing solo show stares with unflinching honesty at eating disorders
Greek writer Ersi Niaoti's harrowing solo show dives into the damaged mind of a woman with multiple eating disorders, conveyed in a disarmingly suave, charismatic performance by Elpida Stathatou. She describes her difficult relationship with the parents she still lives with – and how it's such a drag attempting to keep her bingeing and vomiting at least partially hidden – as well as her seemingly insatiable sexual appetite.
There are strong setpieces in Niaoti's smoothly flowing script – a tempestuous affair with the psychiatrist meant to be helping her, for instance, or a blow-by-blow account of making herself throw up that spares few details. And it's revealing on the connections between eating disorders and depression – Stathatou's description of her mental condition as a weight she needs to remove hits home with appalling force.
Other passages, however, feel less focused, and there's little attempt to provide a context for her situation or the impact on those around her. But despite moments of dark humour, Stegosaurus' strengths – its harrowing intensity, and its focus on this woman's unstable mental state – become its weaknesses, in its unremitting bleakness and inescapable claustrophobia. Nevertheless, Stathatou delivers a nuanced, determined performance that tackles a difficult subject with passion and uncompromising honesty.
C royale, until 19 Aug, 2.45pm, £8.50–£10.50 (£6.50–£8.50).