#Bleep is both a hilariously funny and deeply unsettling glimpse into part of a new doctor’s life. Confessed as semi-autobiographical, and told with passion, openness and raw honesty, it is hard to be critical of the (re)telling of a significant chapter of her life.
beautiful, clever and laugh-out-loud funny spoken word poetry
Created by Ali B Poetry, we are introduced to the character of Wendy on her first day as a new doctor. Explaining that she never knew why she became a doctor except that she wanted to help people, she tells in beautiful, clever and laugh-out-loud funny spoken word poetry the different patients that she meets on her first day, becoming overwhelmed and overawed with the responsibility of actually treating patients. These are detailed and truthful and totally believable in their sometimes gorgeously grotesque aspects. Here she meets Peter, Scottish adventure leader, who talks about an opportunity of an into-the-wild expedition which she mulls over until it seems like an ideal antidote to her current situation.
There is an acute change from hilarity to seriousness where we are suddenly aware that something is very wrong indeed. It’s quite a shocking turn and the subsequent exposition of self feels real and stark in its confrontation of mental ill-health. We are taken on a wild ride of facing every human emotion: from laughter to discomfort, from fear for her to uplifting hope; and everything in between.
There is no doubt that Ali B is a clever poet and her delivery of the spoken word is fast, furious and funny. The writing is brutal and beautiful and honest, and she has charming energy on stage. She performs a rap to music and later also sings, which are nice choices in different places. Yet it’s not just spoken word and it’s not quite a play: even though it is entertaining and profound and moving, it seems slightly unfinished and unpolished as an actual play. She does describe herself in the early stages of becoming a theatre maker and performer and this seems a fair awareness. It’s a juxtaposition of amazing spoken word poetry but needs more training in acting, performance and some direction being required to become a fully realised play.