• Amy Toledano

The Shape of Pain Presented by China Plate


What is it?

An audio-described and visual exploration of one woman's experience of chronic pain, and the relationship that she is trying to keep afloat.


What's it all about?

Based on the experience of director Rachel Bagshaw, The Shape of Pain uses a fictional character to create a story that conveys the physical and psychological affects of living with Complex Regional Pain Syndrome.

Performed by the incredible Hannah McPake, the narrative intertwines various explanations of how the pain feels in her body, as well as outside of it. The piece dips in and out of the love story that builds and grows throughout and while said woman is falling in love with a man who is the kindest, most understanding she has met thus far, so too is her resentment for him. The pain controls her in such a way that is all consuming, and as she addresses the audience with all the things people have suggested to her to help with the pain (have you tried visualisation? Have you tried electric shocks?), the condescension from doctors, the judgement from those who cannot understand, we start to become acquainted with the things she has to put up with everyday.

Through visual and audio multimedia the emotive nature of this woman's inner most thoughts and pain become tangible and understandable for those who can never truly experience this type of pain.


How did it make me feel?

This show is stirring and unsettling. It is also incredibly intelligent and moving. Chris Thorpe's writing, alongside Bagshaw's inventive direction create a piece that is evocative and truthful. McPake's performance is highly emotive and vivid, and her strong performance paints the image of pain effortlessly throughout. The visual and sound effects create the atmosphere too and in such a delicate and clever way, that as it progresses you feel yourself connecting more and more not only with the narrative but the pain itself.

Working with medical collaborators, The Shape Of Pain is a rounded and fully formed piece of theatre that immerses its audience in completely exciting and genuine way.


Where Is It Playing?

Wilton's Music Hall is the spacious theatre that provides the air and light to allow this show to explore and push itself to the limits.


Anything Else?

The Shape of Pain is one of the most original pieces of theatre I have seen in a long time and allows the audience to connect and grab hold of the narrative in front of them. It's ability to be open and closed all at once is a masterpiece and a credit to the creatives behind it.



Amy x


The Shape of Pain is playing at Wilton's Music Hall until the 23rd of March 2019.


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©2018 by Amy Toledano