A smart, funny show about our relationship to our bodies when they fail us, Gutted is a surprisingly moving and hugely watchable hour from writer-performer Liz Richardson, based on her experiences of suffering from ulcerative colitis in her twenties. It is all at once a fond rallying cry for the importance of the NHS, a rebuttal to the damaging culture of shame and silence surrounding the kind of illnesses you can’t bring up at the dinner table, and some brilliant character comedy from Richardson, a talented performer with real verve.
Co-created with director Tara Robinson, Gutted intercuts storytelling via impressionism with light-touch audience participation, offering cake in return for taking part while we see footage of Liz’s mother baking. Gutted swiftly and smartly aligns food with love, companionship, nurturing and taking part, gently suggesting how damaging an illness like this can be, and how inescapable.
This is a show with as much heart as guts, as much about being well as being ill. It’s about the privilege of having a body that does what we want it to – one that can be used, unthinkingly, to live.