Everyone struggles with their weight. This is the reality which A&E Theatre Company’s ‘The Weigh In’ bravely attempts to tackle. Unfortunately, this play lacks any real subtlety with a hackneyed script and offering an uninspired look at the issues surrounding eating disorders. Accusing the play of being clichéd seems a bit unfair when there will undoubtedly be people who can relate to the issues here. That doesn’t excuse the play from the accusation of a poor script and mediocre acting.
Whilst presenting the stories of the individual characters is a good idea, most of these characters feel surprisingly lacking in complexity: their monologues about their disorders directly confront their inner turmoil but a sense of intimacy is never really set up with the audience. There is also a fair bit of stumbling over lines and some of the cast are far too quiet in their delivery. The cast do well at depicting the trauma faced by those with eating disorders, but the script does not give them much to work with and it all feels forced, making it difficult to fully empathise with the characters.
The music used as a transition between some scenes isn’t smooth and some of the lighting use is a bit odd. It often goes dark in the middle of scenes and it’s difficult to tell if this is an accidental technical blip or if it’s for deliberate effect. Either way, it doesn’t really add anything to the performance.
This play is brave in its attempt to look at issues which are so personal to many people. It’s just a shame that the performances never gain enough emotional depth to prompt any real response. Given the subject matter, it is surprising how apathetic I was left feeling about it all: that’s not to belittle the importance of the issues, but as a piece of theatre it needs a lot of work.
Whilst A&E should be applauded for tackling such a huge issue, they fail to pull it off. It does offer insight into the minds of those suffering from eating disorders, but there is very little chance of emotional investment with a script this hackneyed and predictable. It’s not to be taken lightly though, the issues are important, but at the moment the sloppy direction and acting needs to be developed and honed before the play packs the weighty punch it’s going for.