Mess

Caroline Horton

Traverse 2

From 02 August 2012 to 26 August 2012

Rating: **

Review by Philip Fisher

Caroline Horton had a big hit with the excellent portrait of her grandmother, You're Not Like Other Girls Chrissy.

This follow-up is likely to divide viewers. Its subject matter could hardly be more serious, while the treatment under the direction of Alex Swift is reminiscent of children’s TV aimed at the juvenile market, with songs breaking through the cheery drama on a regular basis.

This clash is never really resolved, as we follow the tragic story of anorexic Josephine, played by the writer.

She is constantly in denial and one reading might suggest that the other two characters are figments of the girl’s starving imagination.

Boris, played as a breeches part by Hannah Boyde, is faithfully supportive, if jauntily one-dimensional.

The scene-stealer throughout is composer / musician Seiriol Davies, who writes music influenced by Laurie Anderson and her ilk. This shaggy eccentric also provides backing commentary and expostulations, in the role of Sistahl, often to hysterical effect.

By the end, the play has brought to the fore some of the issues raised for sufferers from a terrible disease and their friends and family but never addressed them directly, thus dampening the impact of what could have been a far more powerful piece.