Overshadowed

Overshadowed by Sunday’s Child is a small-scale but well-made show with plenty to say about anorexia, being an outcast and growing up. It is especially strong on the differences between how other people see us and how we see ourselves, and on how hard it can be to help someone who doesn’t want to help themselves. It deals with a dark theme, but brings sensitivity and emotion to the problems surrounding eating disorders.

A sincere and worthwhile piece of theatre from a fresh Irish company.

There’s only a handful of actors here but they all give strong performances. The action moves between scenes of Imogene’s slow decline and monologues of her letter to fellow misunderstood and messed-up teen, Eamon Delaney, and we get to see both the good times and the bad along Imogene’s path. The main storytelling innovation that dramatises Imogene’s disease and adds intensity to the story is the monster Caol, a strange, tightly-suited creature under whose shadow Imogene lives. Eva O’Connor does a great job of this sinister, sinuous monster that winds its way into Imogene’s life and manipulates her through her insecurities. She’s both a part of Imogene and an externalised version of the disease, who can be seen with other girls at school, as Imogene admits early on. For Imogene and Caol, this is about control, and the various dynamics of this—who controls who, how you can control your own life and how you can lose control—are played out carefully over the course of the hour. We watch as Imogene punishes not only herself but her mother and her sister too by pushing them away when they want to help, and they both do a good job of showing how the shadow of Imogene’s condition extends over those who care about her.

The script as a whole is nicely plotted, leading us gently towards the more dramatic conclusion. The finale avoids the confrontation of personal demons that you may be expecting, making its point in a way that is clichéd, perhaps, but for good reason. The show perhaps suffers from its early afternoon time slot, since it is heavy fare for Fringe-goers looking for something less serious. However, for those drawn by the subject material this should definitely not stop you, and it is a sincere and worthwhile piece of theatre from a fresh Irish company.  

Reviews by Fiona Mossman

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Performances

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The Blurb

Imogene used to be sparkly, vivacious and outgoing. Recently, however, she has become withdrawn, gaunt and obsessed with exercise. The reason? Caol, her new best friend, who's cast a dark shadow over Imogene's life. Invisible to everyone except Imogene, Caol will not rest until Imogene has been reduced both emotionally and physically to a shadow of her former self. This moving and insightful piece by award-winning company Sunday's Child aims to provoke compassion and debate around the subject of eating disorders. Fishamble Award for Best New Writing, 'a dark, compassionate sometimes funny exploration of eating disorders.' **** (Irish Times).

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