Theatre review: Pear-Shaped

Pear-shaped is a whimsical, funny and at times surreal show that explores the very serious issue of anorexia (trigger warning) and how it impacts families.

Culture, family tradition and sibling relationships take a front seat in this original work by playwrights Miranda Middleton and Ziggy Resnick. The script also draws on the story of Alice in Wonderland as metaphor.

Two sisters of Jewish heritage, played by Ziggy Resnick (Frankie) and Louisa Scrofani (Kayla), grow up in a close knit family with a mother who works relentlessly to support them and a grandmother who survived concentration camps and likes to feed people. When one of the sisters develops a psychological illness their relationship falters.

As Kayla struggles with anorexia, the family watch with horror. The mother works harder to try to hold the family together and pay medical bills whilst Ziggy who is trying to work on a show that is an interpretation of Alice in Wonderland becomes resentful at what she perceives as her Kayla’s deliberate insistence on losing weight because she believes she is fat. Her pleading and angry outbursts fall on deaf ears as Kayla remains trapped in her personal torment.

The performance slides between the past and present and slips into Alice in Wonderland with some fabulous moments of playful magical realism that provide both light relief from the sombre subject matter and help communicate it. Humorous puppetry and hand cameos are provided by Cameron Steen.

The young cast handles the difficult content and multiple characters well with fast paced direction to keep the narrative moving at pace. The show has great set design by Grace Deacon that adapts well to enable the beautiful moments of magical realism using the Alice tropes and Aaron Murray’s lighting effects.

Pear -Shaped is on at Theatreworks until 15th April. Find tickets here.

The Butterfly Foundation provides support for eating disorders and body image issues.

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