Stegosaurus

No crocodile tears are involved in this deeply moving one woman monologue; it is emotion in its purest, most innocent form. This story of a 30 year old woman living with her parents whilst battling her way through eating disorders deals with sensitive issues using a combination of complete humanism and unapologetic honesty. The raw dissection of an anorexic’s mind is disturbing yet has the capability to leave an audience reduced to silent tears.

A fascinating middle ground of being invited into the narrative but being unable to empathise with the notions of the character.

In amongst the copies of glossy magazines, a bucket used for vomiting and a mound of pillows, actor Elpida Stathatou is completely spellbinding. Her casual approach to discussing rough sex, binge eating and graphic techniques for ‘cleansing the body’ bring socially taboo subjects to the surface in an intimate space. A convincing performance of fake smiles and rehearsed giggles hide the genuine pain behind her eyes, and it is evident the subject matter affects her deeply. She bears each ounce of pain to the audience and it is refreshing to experience such raw honesty.

The physical elements to the show add a reality to the harrowing tale of mental struggle. Beginning in a hoodie and baggy clothes, Stathatou gradually reveals her tiny waist and explores her ‘dinosaur’ bone structure. Though the actress herself is fit, her clenching and moulding of the skin like Playdough make her character’s illness completely believable. The constant sucking in of the stomach to reveal the spiny arch of her back causes discomfort but is impossible to not fixate upon.

Technical elements play their own important role; blinding light illuminates her body to an uncomfortable level at times, whilst thumping tracks alienate the audience from her introverted dancing. Large sections of time are filled with Stathatou letting us observe her, as if the audience is her mirror and reflect her insecurities back at her. This incessant theme of looking consumes the show and allows a glimpse at the world of someone whose obsession with their appearance dominates their life.

The show is a fascinating middle ground of being invited into the narrative but being unable to empathise with the notions of the character. Stathatou provides a stellar platform for an audience to obtain insight into a deeply troubled mind, but equally demonstrates a fourth wall between those who understand and those who never will. It is appropriate that there is no established ending to the series of events. It means the whole show remains endlessly entangled in a perpetually sad cycle, beautifully mirroring the character’s lonely routine.

Reviews by Yasmin Duggal

C venues – C primo

The Chess Player

★★★★★
C venues – C royale

Stegosaurus

★★★★★
C venues – C too

Five Kinds of Silence

★★★
C venues – C primo

Morgan Stern

★★★
C venues – C royale

How to Be a Sissy with Percy Q Shun

★★★★
Zoo

The Concrete Jungle Book

★★★★

Performances

Location

The Blurb

A journey through black coffee, exposed bones and copies of Vogue, Stegasaurus explores our relationship with food, societal attitudes towards body image and sexuality and the many myths about eating disorders as they are perpetuated by Hollywood. A truthful depiction of a young woman’s struggle to be normal while being 30, being anorexic and bulimic, and still living with her parents. A one-woman play written by Ersi Niaoti and directed by Joe Hufton. ‘A mordant monologue’ (Stage).