Walking into The Bridge, I must admit to not being entirely sure as to what to expect from the Body Gossip evening. A series of sketches and monologues designed to raise awareness about body image issues.
Any pre-conceptions I may have had initially were quickly dispelled once the show began however as the first act began. Monologues are as a general rule very difficult to pull off well, the lack of any other people to bounce emotions off makes for a very difficult job for the performer in question as they have to rely solely on the audience for reactions. In this case however the format worked extremely well as the exposed nature of the format allowed for the issues discussed to have a far greater pathos than might otherwise have happened.
I think the most striking thing about the evening was the level of variety in the sketches, from the cheerful optimism of Becky Thomas’ performance to Robert Osbourne’s excruciatingly powerful and graphic tale of the struggle people suffering from dermatillomania face (Warning: Do not google if you have a weak stomach). Strong performances abounded throughout the show with Alice Walsh, Natalie Salmon and Hannah Matheson each providing strong and well balanced views on a variety of image issues.
Personally I felt the standout act was the finale starring Murray Tremellen and Chris Power. Tremellen was clearly in his element portraying the upstanding organised nervous system of the body, the ultimate straight man. This however was masterfully balanced by Power’s portrayal of every other part of the body, each with a completely different accent making for a highly entertaining sketch.
Most importantly however the evening was about raising awareness, the show itself was followed by a brief discussion session which worked well as it allowed for different viewpoints on the subject manner to surface and be discussed.
Overall it made for a highly enjoyable and educational evening, Lydia Longman, Frankie Fry and Charlotte Gatherer did a brilliant job of organising the event and I for one would love to see more events of this kind in the future.
Body Gossip was organised in aid of Student Run Self Help, a student run organisation aimed at combatting eating disorders. Their website can be found here.