This Bitch Can Heal presented by Pink Splat Productions
What Is It?
Pink Splat Production’s debut show at VAULT Festival, This Bitch Can Heal is an almost-solo performance. Directed by Dani Dinger, performed by Tamsin Omond with a live score composed and performed by Rob DesRoches.
What Is It About?
With the Extinction Rebellion protests electrifying and dividing London in equal measure, Jack has taken to their bike to support the climate activists as their camp is being cleared from Marble Arch. Yet, while they cycle towards a cause they believe in, they leave behind their aggrieved girlfriend - their relationship left in turmoil after a heated argument. We follow Jack’s journey - both emotional and physical - as they try to come to terms with their conflicting passions for the growing climate crisis and the love of their partner.
How Did It Make Me Feel?
It’s always interesting to watch a show where there is a constant physical demand placed upon its performers. It takes a lot of focus and energy for an actor to sustain their performance in a way that does not compromise their emotional integrity whilst engaging in constant physical action. As an audience member, there is an anxiety as to whether this fine balance between the emotional and physical stresses of such a performance can be achieved. In the case of This Bitch Can Heal, the challenge for performer Tamsin Omond was to portray Jack’s narrative with unbridled honesty whilst at the same time riding a bicycle for almost a full hour.
A Herculean task for any actor - it can be a struggle to catch your breath on stage whilst delivering a monologue in utter stillness, let alone whilst peddling away on a bike. Omond faces the challenge with a clarity of feeling and an unceasing energy, yet while the imagery of this show is starkly and literally evoked, the story that it tells is not quite so strongly felt.
While Jack’s belief for the Extinction Rebellion movement is clearly defined, their intensity of emotion for their girlfriend, Sally, is never quite given the same kind of emotional impact. The stakes of their relationship is not allowed the weight it needs in order for the pathos of show’s climax to really land. The script swerves between Jack’s recollections of their childhood transgressions, the blossoming of their relationship with Sally and their growing fascination with climate activism with the same dizzying speed with which Jack’s mind apparently functions. Yet, this stylistic choice left me feeling emotionally removed from Jack’s story.
Where Is It Playing?
Performing at the Crypt, The Vaults until January 30th.
Tamsin Omond’s performance is the real strength behind this show. While the script offers the seed of an interesting self reflection in these turbulent times, a refocusing of the show’s core themes would perhaps produce a more impacting narrative.
This Bitch Can Heal is playing at The Crypt, The Vaults until 30th January 2020.
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