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Beach Body Ready review at Pleasance Courtyard, Edinburgh – ‘buoyant, candid and warmly performed’

Sarah Penney, Rachael Abbey and Jess Morley in Beach Body Ready at Pleasance Courtyard, Edinburgh. Photo: Tom Arran Sarah Penney, Rachael Abbey and Jess Morley in Beach Body Ready at Pleasance Courtyard, Edinburgh. Photo: Tom Arran

Appropriating the slogan from the infamous ad campaign, The Roaring Girls’ autobiographical show is less an exercise in body positivity, more of a call for body acceptance.

It’s a raised middle finger to the endless pressure placed on women to look a certain way and take up less space.

Rachael Abbey, Jess Morley, and Sarah Penney talk candidly about their hang-ups. They discuss their bodies, what they like and dislike about their tummies, breasts and thighs.

They talk about the judgement they face daily for inhabiting larger bodies. They talk about the diet industry and the psychological impact of being told, constantly, by women’s magazines, dickheads in nightclubs and society as a whole, you’re too big to be desirable.

Abbey, Morley and Penney are all wonderfully warm and engaging performers. It’s a joy being in their company for an hour. Their comic timing is excellent and Lizi Perry‘s production cleverly balances emotional openness with a sense of playfulness and fun.

There’s serious stuff in here too. Morley discusses her own disordered relationship with food and fitness. Penney makes it powerfully apparent how corrosive self-loathing can be; they touch upon the idea that these damaging attitudes get handed down from generation to generation.

This is a buoyant, honest and often moving show, and while there’s nothing revelatory being said here, but that’s kind of the point. Sadly, this all still needs saying, repeatedly and loudly.

Wild Swimming review at Beneath, Pleasance Courtyard, Edinburgh – ‘confident comedic exploration of gender rights’

 

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Verdict
Buoyant, candid and warmly performed show about body-shaming and self-acceptance
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