Sussex Playwrights Reviews: Rebel Boob

Sussex Playwrights Reviews

Rebel Boob
Speak Up! Act Out!
Director Angela El-Zeind
Choreography Katie Dale-Everett

Breast cancer is the most common cancer in the UK with one woman diagnosed every ten minutes. And around 350 men a year, too.

Eight out of ten are not warned about the possibility of developing long-term anxiety, depression and other mental health issues.

This week, rage about the way gynaecology submits women to extreme pain without anaesthetic has taken centre stage, so this topic feels so much a part of the conversation right now.

This piece of verbatim theatre is based on interviews with survivors, some of whom were with us in the audience tonight.

Three women tell their stories, each dipping into testimonies that plunge us into some dark places, from the in-shower oh-crap moment to glimpses of the realities of the treatments.

We begin at the moment of diagnosis, a professional voice droning on – but it’s overtaken by the thundering heart, the wooshing in the ears, she’s falling, twisting, caught in a tornado.

Yet there’s joy and positivity too, glimpses of new beginnings, relationships strengthening, and the sense of a second chance to seize the day.

And a fun moment – an unexpected, brightly contrasted piece of audience participation that’s very cleverly popped in just where it’s needed.

The show’s performed by an assured trio;
Chess Dillon-Reams’ fluid dancer brings a powerful glow, Aurea Williamson is all restrained grace and compassion and director Angela El-Zeind delivers a performance of poise and authority.

It’s staged very simply, a few seating blocks and spotlights, with slides flitting on and off screen and audio snippets from the interviews, monologues and dance and physical theatre pieces interweaving together.

Like the survivors it celebrates, this compelling, frank and emotionally captivating piece will go on to new directions, telling more stories and spreading the word.

(PS: Do your checks, and go for your scans)

Philippa Hammond