'I recognise this'
An articulate, genuine show
Daniella Isaacs was in the newest Sweaty Betty zero gravity leggings, making hemp and cacao energy balls, flanked by her nutribullet. She was even using the hemp powder that I have. Hear Me Raw is a candid theatrical experience that scrutinised the ‘clean eating’ and ‘wellness’ movements that have so suddenly dominated the food sphere.
Isaacs introduced herself as ‘Green Girl’, a social media phenomenon who took her influence and inspiration from Belle Gibson, and for whom the show was an event by which she could promote her ‘clean eating’ book. She and Gibson identified themselves as wellness bloggers – sorry, no, “nutritional holistic health coaches”. Hear Me Raw aims to expose how an obsession with ‘clean eating’ and ‘wellness’ could sometimes be a convenient cover for more serious mental health problems, and, perhaps, even tip over into becoming orthorexia nervosa, an eating disorder defined as ‘an unhealthy obsession with eating healthily’.
Isaacs demonstrated the hypocrisy behind these ideas with humour and honesty, making interesting use of props to facilitate the voices of the ‘toxic’ people that her obsession was demanding she cut from her life. The destruction of relationships that ensued as a consequence of her disorder, and the negative health effects, were discussed openly, and made perhaps more resonant by the fact that this was an autobiographical show. The making of an actual wellness smoothie at the end was an inspired touch, and I was particularly impressed when Jay Rayner added his commentary on the matter.
All this said, I have friends who are really into the ‘clean eating’ and ‘wellness’ thing – the fact that I felt such recognition throughout attests to the fact that I am too, to some extent. It’s genuinely helped them self-affirm and learn to eat and exercise better. This by no means negates Isaacs’ tumultuous relationship with the movement, nor Gibson’s abhorrent self-serving scheme, nor the show overall, but I guess the message is all things in moderation. And Hear Me Raw is an articulate, genuine show by which to be reminded of that fact.