5 Years

In a world where it’s possible to trade time off your life to change your body into society’s definition of perfection, how much time would you spare? 5 Years is a very eye opening portrayal of how much the media industry dictates the way we should feel about our appearance. Every inch of the body is analysed and criticised. We starve and abuse ourselves with ludicrous low calorie diets and fast in the name of someone else’s opinion of beauty. What are we doing?

A real dagger in the dark for any industry that relies on female self-doubt to keep it in business.

We follow Amanda (Hayley Davis), who is convinced that her body image is responsible for her quality of life; that if she could be a size eight then she could be happy. She signs up for a new medical procedure that will enhance her body to her liking in exchange for five years of her life. While she anxiously waits for the treatment to begin she takes us through an unending list of reasons why she is willing to make the sacrifice.

Hayley Davis has the audience nodding in agreement throughout her performance. She touches on some very sensitive subjects such as body image, employment, dieting, confidence, male acceptance, and above all acceptance within ourselves. As serious and as thought provoking as the subject matter is, Davis still manages to find the funny side of the ridiculous things we are willing to do to make ourselves feel attractive. This is an admirable skill to be able to make us laugh at ourselves when focussing on a subject that usually makes us feel quite defeated.

Although the basic structure of the show is present and the concept is wonderful, the show doesn’t flow as well as it should. The use of voiceovers is very effective but needs to be a bit snappier in order to maintain the audience’s full attention. A one person show is always challenging and sadly Davis seemed to lack the confidence needed to back up her strongest points. On a subject so true and important to the lives of women we need a voice that can scream from the rooftops and not care who's watching. Davis redeems herself to an extent however through the likeability and believability of her character.

The show is a real dagger in the dark for any industry that relies on female self-doubt to keep it in business. We come to realise what we are actually doing to ourselves physically and in the long run the effect this will have on our mental health. The ending of the play is very powerful showing that it would be easy enough to stick to one method to get to perfection, but the ideal body concept is continuously changing and updating itself with the next diet or beauty tip; perfection is not sustainable. A strong reminder that these media influences may think they know about beauty but have no idea whatsoever about happiness.

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The Blurb

5 Years is a brand new solo show by Birmingham based writer/performer Hayley Davis. The show takes aim at the way our bodies are scrutinised and judged, ultimately asking: What is the perfect body anyway? The piece is a light-hearted look at how we are judged by the way we look and how this intersects with race and sex. www.mshayleydavis.com

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