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Hear Me Raw review at Underbelly, Edinburgh – ‘astute takedown of the wellness industry’

Daniella Isaacs in Hear Me Roar at Underbelly, Edinburgh. Photo: Mihaela Bodlovic
Daniella Isaacs in Hear Me Roar at Underbelly, Edinburgh. Photo: Mihaela Bodlovic

Daniella Isaacs’ takedown of the wellness industry is inspired by her own experiences. Hear Me Raw is extremely astute about how easy it is to conceal disordered eating behind a sheen of living cleanly, how young women on dangerously restrictive diets are celebrated on Instagram and supported by the publishing industry and how damaging it can be when food becomes equated with virtue.

Isaacs opens by playing a wellness blogger, gushing about the cleansing benefits of matcha powder and chia seeds, but soon her white t-shirt is stained with juice and her various kitchen implements have started to whisper things to her.

There’s a lot crammed into this show. Isaacs explores how social and cultural expectations surrounding food can further cloud the issue. She talks about the role of control in eating disorders and how inward-looking they can make a person. She couldn’t even bring herself to attend her aunt’s shiva because it might have meant eating food that wasn’t clean.

Isaacs is an endearing performer of her own story. The material is intensely personal but she owns it. Midway through Rosy Banham’s production, the tone shifts, and she starts to describe in detail the physical consequences of her orthorexia. By cutting so many foods out of her diet, she’s been left with long-term side effects.

Hear Me Raw is as timely and necessary a corrective to the fad of clean eating as Anthony Warner’s The Angry Chef, perhaps even more important as it’s written by someone who understands all too well the damage such thinking can do.

Verdict
Astute exploration of the damage done by the wellness industry drawn from personal experience
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