• Amy Toledano

How To Save A Life, Underbelly Bristo Square, Clover.

What Is It?

Melissa, tells the story of her life in the lead up to her "death" party after being diagnosed with cervical cancer.

What Is It All About?

Melissa (Heather Wilkins) has a wonderful boyfriend named Toby (James Ford), a brilliant best friend named Maria (Katerina Robinson) and a life that she adores.

But she hasn't been feeling too fresh downstairs so she goes for a check up, and discovers that things are so much worse than she could have imagined.

Melissa's world comes crashing down as her health deteriorates, but she won't let it break her spirit completely. She decides to throw a party that will bring all her loved ones together to celebrate a wonderful life lived, her "death party" as she affectionately refers to it as.

How Did It Make Me Feel?

There are some really lovely moments throughout, and the general message is really wonderful. Melissa's story of ignoring symptoms and not being checked until it is too late is all too common and something that needs to be brought into conversation as much as we can.

The script is quick and funny, and the characters are larger than life and full of energy.

There is a vagueness though, to the whole piece that feels slightly unrealistic and leans in more to the movie version of cancer, instead of the truly harrowing effects it has on people and their families.

It was the small discrepancies that distracted me from the overall story, giving a cancer patient news of their illness with no support, the partying and waiting for more tests to happen, even though the cancer has been found. All these things feel unreal, and take away from the strength of the story.

The performances are great and the staging and direction are slick from scene to scene which helps to weave together the emotional rollercoaster that is this play.

Anything Else?

A strong script from Stephanie Silver, with potential to dig even deeper into a subject that needs as much stage time as it can possibly get.

Amy x

How To Save A Life is playing at Underbelly, Bristo Square, Clover until the 25th August 2019.

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