Bit of Sunshine
Backstage Theatre Mountview
Reviewed – 9th July 2019
“a tale full of drama that entirely lacked dramatic impact“
Bit of Sunshine is a one-woman show written by and starring Nicole Zweiback. Zweibeck is Kira, a young woman still struggling with bulimia, having been orphaned at a young age and brought up by her sister. The monologue jumps between the past and the present, and we learn of Kira’s life as a little girl, her relationship with boyfriend Jason, her ejection from work and her time in an eating disorder clinic.
Much of the detail in the writing is horrific, and yet the audience remained at an emotional distance from Kira and it was, ultimately, a tale full of drama that entirely lacked dramatic impact. For this kind of confessional-style piece to work, the audience needs either to feel a lot, or learn a lot; preferably both. In this case, there was nothing new to learn about this dreadful condition, and we left the theatre unmoved. This was partly to do with a lot of well worn phrases in the writing, and a lot to do with the fact that the unique qualities that theatre can bring to narrative weren’t harnessed.
So much could have been added here with a bolder and less literal approach. All the creative and driven young people involved would benefit by absorbing the work of companies like Frantic Assembly and Complicite, by the work currently being shown at The Yard, by directors like Ned Bennett and Sara Joyce, who get to the emotional meaning of text through exploding it from underneath. Words alone aren’t enough to help an audience connect with the ugliness and pain of bulimia; take us there with the tools of theatre – movement, light and sound.
All of this young team are currently in training, and this is the time to experiment. Be bold. Fail big. And learn stuff along the way. This production played it safe and was the poorer for it. It takes more to create atmosphere than a smoke machine.
Reviewed by Rebecca Crankshaw
Bit of Sunshine
Backstage Theatre Mountview until 13th July as part of Catalyst Festival