Satiable [by Matt Baker]
While the mutual love of Lisa Left-Eye Lopez may not grab all potential audience members, Stomach is a surprisingly accessible piece of theatre – for both men and women. Granted, there are one or two references that will completely skip men, but overall the themes of friendship and one’s self-respect are presented with a degree of authenticity that make for an engaging 50 minutes of theatre.
Writers and performers Amelia Reynolds and Saraid Cameron have created a script with incredibly natural dialogue, and, almost more importantly in today’s theatre, pop culture references that roll off the tongue with great ease. Cameron skillfully balances comedy and drama, making the audience laugh out loud one moment, and shocking (perhaps even shaming) them into silence the next. Reynolds is slightly theatrical in her second scene with Cameron, which was possibly directional, but, either way, eases quickly into a more comfortable level of delivery. There is obvious comfort and trust between these two actresses and their director, and none of the impulses between them feel forced.
Choreography by Cole Jenkins is clever and professional enough to justify some hits on Youtube, and provides a thoroughly entertaining segment break without distracting from the play as a necessary time-filler. Director and tech operator Jessica Joy Wood has masterfully shaped the entire pitch and pace of the play. There is never a dull or disjointed moment in the narrative, and her meticulous direction allows the actresses great clarity in their processes.
Unfortunately, the 50-minute format doesn’t allow for full exploration of the themes, instead using them as a shallow context to the play’s narrative as opposed to content that could give greater dynamism to the characters’ journeys and more pathos to the play overall. That being said there are plenty of subtle, yet poignant, moments that not only resonated with the audience, but also, in all probability, gave them something on which to reflect after the show.
If you, or a loved one, are struggling with eating disorders or disordered eating, please get in touch Eating Disorders Association of New Zealand (www.ed.org.nz) or Kristina Lainson, a postgraduate student of counseling with a particular focus on disordered eating (firstname.lastname@example.org or 021574603).
Stomach plays at The Basement until March 15. For details see iticket.co.nz