‘One of those “grab a friend & discuss endlessly” productions’: THE B*EASTS – Bush Theatre

In London theatre, Opinion, Plays, Reviews by Laura KresslyLeave a Comment

Bush Theatre, London – until 3 March 2018
Guest reviewer: Joanna Trainor

Do you have to be responsible for your breasts? A question you probably never thought you’d have to think about, but The B*easts pushes us to consider the very worst of society as Monica Dolan explores the sexualisation of female children.

Playing psychotherapist Tessa, Dolan takes us through a recent high-profile case she’s been dealing with. Going in not knowing the story, and watching it unfold, is incredibly powerful. But the importance magazines and the internet put on breasts as a symbol of a women’s sexuality and beauty is absorbed by a child called Lila. The consequences of which are so distressing that Tessa is called in.

And what if your breasts fail you? Dolan has neatly woven another thread through the story, about specialists, lumps and reconstructive surgery, that come from Tessa’s phone conversations with her family.

There is some incredibly clever writing in The B*easts and these sporadic calls, complete with enjoyable jazzy ringtone, leave brilliant boob breadcrumbs to pick up along the way. While listening to Dolan talk about Lila and the sexualisation of breasts, Tessa’s situation ruminates in the back of your mind. How does the sexuality and functionality of breasts work in harmony with each other?

You don’t really get any idea of what role the audience is playing in the performance. We’re definitely part of the conversation, but we don’t know who it is that Tessa is divulging these great many secrets to, or what has convinced her to break doctor/patient confidentiality for the first time.

During the phone calls with her family she simply says she’s waiting for her next client. This may be straying somewhat from the point of the piece, but something has made Tessa voice her opinion and that make The B*easts all the more fascinating.

The punches just keep coming in The B*easts. It’s one of those, “grab a friend and discuss endlessly” productions, and the more we do chat with each other, hopefully the more we can avoid a future where children are so heavily sexualised.

Laura Kressly
Laura is a US immigrant who has lived in the UK since 2004. Originally trained as an actor with a specialism in Shakespeare, she enjoyed many pre-recession years working as a performer, director and fringe theatre producer. When the going got too tough, she took a break to work in education as a support worker, then a secondary school drama teacher. To keep up with the theatrical world, she started reviewing for Everything Theatre and Remotegoat in 2013. In 2015, Laura started teaching part time in order to get back into theatre. She is now a freelance fringe theatre producer and runs her independent blog, theplaysthethinguk.com.
Read more...

Tags: , , , ,

Laura Kressly
Laura is a US immigrant who has lived in the UK since 2004. Originally trained as an actor with a specialism in Shakespeare, she enjoyed many pre-recession years working as a performer, director and fringe theatre producer. When the going got too tough, she took a break to work in education as a support worker, then a secondary school drama teacher. To keep up with the theatrical world, she started reviewing for Everything Theatre and Remotegoat in 2013. In 2015, Laura started teaching part time in order to get back into theatre. She is now a freelance fringe theatre producer and runs her independent blog, theplaysthethinguk.com.