Review: Beach Body Ready (rating 4/5)
This production from The Roaring Girls does not pull its punches. Rachael and Sarah are fat (their words, not mine). Josey is not. Together they open up to their audience and expose us to the expectations imposed on us all – and women in particular – by a media and marketing world that wants everyone to be ‘Beach Body Ready’.
Body positivity is a popular theme at this year’s Fringe. This production might sound like a recipe for ‘worthy’ theatre but Beach Body Ready is far from that. It is certainly a heartfelt shout at ‘the system’ but delivered with a heady combination of bite and humour. It is especially good at treading the fine line between being realistic whilst also being positive and motivating – “I hate my belly but I reckon I’ve got a bangin’ arse”!
Director Lizi Perry has given her cast the freedom to bare their souls and semi-improvise, confident that they have the skill to ride the emotions and laughs coming from their audience. In Sarah Penney she has an actor who can work a crowd, deliver a punchline too and still make her co-stars laugh. The goodwill flowing between stage and audience was palpable but, as the show continues its run, the cast need to be wary of their familiarity with the material. There’s a risk that some of the lines are being lost amongst the noise and excitement.
Beach Body Ready is not a cheesy, Americanised vision of the body-perfect. It’s an exposé of how easily we fall into judging others purely on the way they look. As a ‘man of a certain age’ I worried that I might not be the right target audience for this show. It turns out I am exactly the sort of person who should see this. Recommended.
Pleasance Above until 26 August