Hear Me Raw

★★★
theatre review | Read in About 2 minutes
31213_large
Hear Me Raw
Published 09 Aug 2017

It is, of course, tricky territory to stomp around on, writing about how a performer looks. Especially when reviewing a show which focuses on self-perception and its connection to anxiety and eating disorders. Especially when the performer in question is writing and performing autobiographically, and painfully honestly. Especially when that's so tied up with how women are made to feel in a society where 'wellness' presents an ideal not necessarily of women's own design. But, as oafish as it sounds, Daniella Isaacs glows throughout this performance.

That's only important as it's central to why this piece is so unsettling – this is definitely theatre and not straight confessional, and one can assume that the look is part of the design. Daniella Isaacs is a wellness blogger. Anxiety issues led her into the glossy maze of wellness and clean eating, where she became thoroughly lost. But it's not entirely clear that she's found her way out. Voices talk to her from pots of matcha and tubs of almond butter – voices that it's unlikely have been silenced just yet. Letters from her doctors are shown – presumably as part of an ongoing conversation. She looks great and exudes wellness – which gets to the heart of why this illness is so pernicious and destructive. What's healthy, and what's sick? It's a clever staging, which treads a line between what's inside and outside of her head.

It's not all smart choices. There's a slightly coddish section on the link between "control" and eating disorders that spells out issues more powerfully shown in previous scenes, and a few bum jokes (quinoa has been thoroughly milled for comic potential). But, overall, this is a powerful and personal piece, with nuanced theatrical telling.