Friday, 11 August 2017

EDINBURGH FRINGE REVIEW: Gutted at the Pleasance Jack Dome

A shameless tale of love, laughs and lavatories” describes co-creators Liz Richardson and Tara Robinsons 60-minute coax into the living world of ulcerative colitis, but I feel this description is only the tip of the iceberg white porcelain toilet seat. 

Gutted feels personal from the moment you enter the space, beautifully designed and littered with loos it essentially presented as an English country garden (I was half expecting Mary Berry head to emerge from one of them). This quaint design sums up Tara and Liz’s brilliant take on Richards story – taking something were usually uncomfortable or giggly or embarrassed talking about and putting it out in the front garden for all to see. 

Were taken through her trials and surgeries through a constant swap of characters (all beautifully portrayed by Richards herself) from Flower hating nurses to meaning well friends who simply just don’t understand. None of these characters seemed pushed, everyone had meaning and brought relatability to her story. There was also some audience participation led by Liz which would usually make me cringe but due to her beautifully open energy the audience (including myself) were eager to help.

I think this is Richards and Robinsons biggest triumph – it was the first one woman show I’ve seen in a while which didn’t feel like it was being used for personal therapy. Her condition is not one that I knew about – I am now much better informed but it never felt like she was in any way looking for pity. I came away with the idea that she was simply saying “this happened to me, we’ve all had bad situations but this is how I dealt with mine”

Gutted is a raw and brave exploration into a condition that you might not know about but should be discussed- how to deal with the emotional crap that comes when your body can’t deal with its own. As British people and especially women we still do not know how to discuss our poo! It’s time to open our bowels and our minds. 

Review by Megan Elizabeth 

Rating: ★★★★
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