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Eat Your Heart Out: Bread and Roses

Tightrope Productions bring us another Edinburgh-bound piece (alongside Dining Al Desko). Where ‘Desko’ bought us the viciousness of office politics, ‘Eat Your Heart Out’ brings us the viciousness of perfection – or rather the impossibility of it and how it can make teenagers feel awful about their own bodies.

Devised by those with experience of eating disorders, it has integrity and authenticity at its heart. Belle is an intelligent sparky teenager obsessed with being the strongest, smartest and above all hottest. She navigates the sixth form and the complexities of friendship with Nicole and Chantelle. In the smartphone era no private act or feeling exists. As a tryst behind the bike sheds becomes not only common knowledge but a music CD, Belle exerts control over what she eats – the only thing she has left. Her weight drops, her schoolwork suffers, her mother is at a loss and the NHS has a waiting list of nine months for treatment. A chance encounter with a school friend with similar issues is the only thing that offers any kind of enlightenment.

This is an assured and funny piece that resists the urge to fall into sermonising or sentimentality. The cast is superb, embodying their various characters like chameleons and turning the tiny stage at the Bread & Roses into a bus, a school, a consulting room, bedrooms, a kitchen, and a party venue. The audience was with them all the way. Like ‘Desko’ the laughter dies in the throat, as we get under Belle’s skin and into her impossible quest for perfection. ‘Eat Your Heart Out’ is that rare offering – educational, enlightening AND entertaining. SEEN has no doubt that it will be a riot at Edinburgh.