Welcome to the Calorie Galaxy, in which Tina Sederholm’s protagonist Evie struggles under a regime of browbeating and humiliation, all in the pursuit of a narrow waist. Evie and the Perfect Cupcake delivers an impressively long poetic recitation (not quite Paradise Lost but still a feat of memory, attention and assembly) that serves as an excursion into the dystopia that is skinny culture.
We are introduced to Evie, an everywoman who goes through the crisis that has played out in soaps since time immemorial: Girl is made to feel bad; girl loses weight to feel better; girl realises she has given into a society far too concerned with the aesthetic and that one should be happy and so on and so forth. Through discussion of frequent weighings, implants, TV shows dedicated to weight loss, the celebrity promotion of celery and other such barely-foods, Sederholm depicts a world of which we are not yet a part but towards which we seem to be edging ever closer.
Whilst Sederholm treads original and insightful turf, the show’s single idea isn’t hugely sustainable, and the overt moralisation begins to wear a little thin. It’s not clear if Sederholm is talking from personal experience. If she is, the piece would benefit from an explanatory addendum at the end. If not, one can’t help but feel the piece is somewhat disingenuous - engaging with a concern of which many are aware but that the slim woman before us has chosen to exploit in order to bring a show to Edinburgh.
The show will likely find greater resonance with the female population than the male in light of its subject matter. Indeed, men are barely addressed at all, and it seemed like a pretty notable omission. Evie worries about ‘staying beautiful if you want to be loved’; she complains that she is ‘sick of being a woman’; and when, in her skeletal state, men grin at her, she is flattered. Such issues are clearly very relevant, but they are dropped as promptly as they are raised - perhaps for fear of alienating the male share of the audience, perhaps simply because to examine such matters would have disrupted the technical flow of the piece. As it was, the references felt half-hearted, worth exploring but never embedded within the realm of objectification that she addresses with great fervour elsewhere.
Still, these criticisms do not take away from the admirable construction and idea behind this piece and the likeable Sederholm was herself an engaging individual to spend the time with. Evie and the Perfect Cupcake won’t feel like overindulgence, but it will satisfy the pangs of theatrical hunger.