• Amy Toledano

Can't Stop Won’t Stop by Kayla Feldman

Image by Lexi Clare

What is it?

Kayla Feldman's latest play, recounts a period in Ivy's (Anna North) life as she struggles with intrusive and uncomfortable thoughts, with no real way out.

What is it about?

Ivy tries to console her niece, a tiny baby crying in her bassinet. But as her crying increases, so too do Ivy's stories and songs, finding herself spilling out her current situation and realising the depths of the thoughts she has been carrying around with her. Because even though Ivy is seemingly "normal", with a proper job as a school teacher, a dog and a boyfriend, something is wrong. After a show at the Edinburgh Fringe stirs up feeling about her own increasingly agonising thoughts, and her sister Grace confirms Ivy's isolation in this, she begins to spiral. Searching and hoping for a way to make it all stop. Routine fails her, and yet she carries on in the hopes that there is an answer to the way she is.

How did it make me feel?

An emotional experience that is uncomfortable and altogether relatable throughout, this show deals with a subject matter that we, as a society, are sadly beginning to acknowledge, and to an extent, understand. Ivy's struggles are heightened through extended blackouts, that build the tension in the space, and create a sense of loss of control, much like the life Ivy is living.

Feldman has a way of making taboo subject more accessible, opening up conversations about the parts of ourselves that we do not know how to approach, a skill that she uses to create gorgeous theatre such as this. The blackouts work for the most, but prove slightly confusing in the final section of the piece, with a few premature claps pulling us from our suspended disbelief.

Anna North is an absolute triumph in this show, taking this challenging script and presenting it to us in a way that is not only brilliantly engaging, but inclusive, bold and heartbreaking.

Lexi Clare is also a lovely addition to the cast, with her warm and natural presence bringing an intimate and loving tone to this emotionally exhausting show.

Anything else? With theatre of this nature it is important to remind people that the material can be triggering, however the writing and the performance have an excellent way of not focusing specifically on the dark nature of the acts described, but the way the characters feel about them, which is not only very clever, but also a relief for the audience who may be feeling sensitive about the show. Excellent, intelligent and absolutely heart wrenching.

Amy x

Can't Stop Won’t Stop is playing on the 11th and 12th November 2019 at Tristan Bates Theatre.

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