The Perfect Body is a one woman show written and performed by Lavinia Savignoni. She plays a personal consultant on health and ‘clean eating’ who’s preparing for a TV appearance. She runs through all the requirements for a healthy body, getting increasingly manic as the pressures of doing everything ‘right’ take her from juicing to squatting on the toilet to very graphic depictions of the joy of coffee enemas. As she’s talking the cracks begin to show and we begin to realise her hunger for attention and love (and cheeseburgers) are clearly issues she’s dealt with from childhood.
It gets drowned in an avalanche of words that struggle to land with the audience.
Savignioni is also a trained dancer and that is evident in her committed physical performance. She throws herself across the stage, transforming from the health guru to a ballerina to an old man and all the while holding the tension created by a lifetime of pressure to be perfect in her body. That tension is also present in the monologue itself, translated from the original Italian by Marco Quaglia and performed for the first time in English here at the Fringe. Savignoni’s delivery is high-pitched and frantic from the word go, only getting more so as her character starts to lose her grip on the situation. Perhaps it would have helped to slow things down a little for the English version as words get lost in the constant stream of dialogue and no moment is allowed to breathe. Instead of satirising the holier-than-thou industry of health gurus and Instagram stars, it starts to feel like the audience is being lectured on how we’re not good enough, and after fifty minutes of being yelled at, you leave the venue feeling drained.
The pressure to be perfect, whether it’s having the perfect body, being great at our jobs or being the perfect parent/child, is something we’re all familiar with and it’s not helped by the constant stream of seemingly perfect people presented on social media and in magazines. The Perfect Body has a lot to say on the issue... shame it gets drowned in an avalanche of words that struggle to land with the audience.