• Amy Toledano

BITE ME Presented by Joanne McNally

What is it?

Based on Joanne's (Joanne McNally writer and performer) true struggle with eating disorders, this one woman dark comedy is a rollercoaster of emotion and truth.

What's it all about?

Joanne isn't pulling any punches. She is the thinnest person in her bikram yoga class so this means she has won bikram... right?

Starting at the end and looping back to the beginning of her illness we experience Joanne's many triumphs and struggles with her eating disorder Bulimia. Working with her therapist, Joanne is asked to give her eating disorder a name, a face, and a personality. Likening the illness to Louis Walsh, we learn that her relationship with him is dangerous, more dangerous than expected and her friendship and even love for him is terrifying. Breaking down the relationships around her Joanne's binging and purging becomes sneakier and more secretive. From creeping out of her house with her mums credit card and car in the middle of the night to hit up the local Tesco and have a binge fest, to getting arrested for shoplifting cake from the supermarket, Joanne begins to spiral and alienate herself from those she loves. The final straw however is the weekend she spends in her mothers empty house, binging and throwing up all the food in the house, until she can no longer take it, and admits to her mum that she is sick and needs help.

As we come back to the present and witness Joanne's acceptance of her illness, Joanne asks the question who is she is without her illness, and what happens now?

How did it make me feel?

This show sizzles with energy and truth, and McNally's performance is electric. Her frank nature is completely reassuring and she makes it easy to help the audience understand where the crux of the disorder comes from. Completely charismatic, McNally never shies away from the truth and that makes the show so much more likeable. There is a moment that is both poignant and uncomfortable in which McNally eats an entire carrot onstage for an extremely long time, which is both brave and clever. It signifies how far McNally has come, and yet how the road to recovery is never easy or simple. Her conversational manner drives this show home with a stand-up comedy style that keeps the audience engaged and onside throughout.

Anything Else?

The delicate line that McNally walks in this piece, never once sacrificing herself or those suffering the same illnesses for the sake of a laugh is incredibly clever, and yet she has the audience laughing throughout, and is one of many reasons why this show leaves such a big impact.

Amy x

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