Stegosaurus (3 stars)

This article is from 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).


A one-woman play about eating disorders and mental health.