Reviewed – 24th November 2020
“a well-crafted piece of theatrical storytelling … nourishing, and created with a great deal of heart and soul”
Eating Myself is an autobiographical/confessional monologue, written and performed by Pepa Duarte. Pepa is Peruvian, and the storytelling centres around her preparation of a hearty Peruvian soup. She chops and stirs and adds ingredients, and all the while the big soup tureen sits on the hob bubbling away. It is a visceral and frequently painful piece which, for the most part, examines Pepa’s deeply troubling relationship with food, but also leads to an exploration of her relationship with her female identity and, finally, a deeper understanding and celebration of her Peruvian heritage. In live performance, the slowly-cooking soup would clearly provide a kind of aromatic underscore, which would frequently be in sharp sensual counterpoint to the self-imposed culinary controls and deprivations Pepa re-enacts.
Unlike some other online theatrical experiences which have been available during the pandemic – most notably Jermyn Street Theatre’s 15 Heroines – Eating Myself is clearly a live show filmed, as opposed to a piece created for the small screen. It was ably filmed using more than one camera, meaning that cuts and close-ups enhanced our streaming experience, and Tom Sochas’ composition and sound design also served the experience well, as did the wonderful creative costume elements. Ultimately though, it was impossible not to want more, and to yearn to be breathing the same air and sharing the same smells and space as the performer, especially one as naturally engaging as Pepa, who invites intimacy, and exudes warmth. She is also a very expressive physical artist, and uses her body with grace, power and beauty throughout.
Certain sections of the script could use a bit of an edit – the show would benefit from being 10 minutes shorter – but this was a well-crafted piece of theatrical storytelling, and, like the soup at its centre, nourishing, and created with a great deal of heart and soul.
Reviewed by Rebecca Crankshaw
Photography by Charly Monreal
Online via Applecart Arts until 29th November
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