Thin for thought

First published 13th July

I’d never been to see a monologue before, and my only image of one was the tortuous, painstakingly slow rendition of one woman’s awfully depressing life once featured in an episode of Friends. Needless to say, I was a little apprehensive as to how one person onstage could create enough buzz, energy and entertainment to draw in a full theatre audience single handed. But that’s what Rachel Shaw did, the actress playing the part of Adele, a 22 year old girl who struggles through her childhood and post-school years before giving in to her inner desire to be ‘beautiful’, in Dave Windass’s production of Thinspiration.

Usually a comedy writer, Windass turned his hand to the serious issue of anorexia to break down the walls sheltering the taboo nature of the play. His combination of excellent writing, conveying the exact emotions of the character without conforming to easy stereotypes while using shortbursts of humour to readdress the audience, with phenomenal acting ability, made Thinspiration an inspiration for writers and actors alike.

Not only was the part of Adele played with such vigour, but introductions of other characters were conveyed equally impressively, creating an atmosphere in which it was hard to believe only one individual was onstage throughout the set.

Thinspiration’s invitation into Adele’s mind went further than what she was feeling, but told the audience who she was at her most personal level. The audience weren’t watching a character form, they were also that character, going on the same mental journey as Adele, and felt her pain when her enemies of all kinds addressed her.

Rachel Helen Shaw stars in Thinspiration. The subject of eating disorders is such a fragile one that many writers fall into the trap of delivering the facts while tiptoeing around the harder to accept realities, as the same audience saw from Seed, the first play of the back to back productions in the same night.

Thinspiration was performed at Hull Truck Theatre on Saturday 10th July as part of a series of events surrounding the Humber Mouth Literature festival and will be returning to Hull Truck for an additional two nights on 24th and 25th September 2010.


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