Pros: Dolan holds the audience in the palm of her hand, with a monologue that never loses pace or relevance.
Cons: The plot may be too far-fetched for more sceptical audience members.
The B*easts taps into modern parenting dilemmas including when to indulge your child, and when to stand your ground, pornification, sexualisation and media hypocrisy over body image (tabloids bleating about family values, whilst simultaneously drooling over young actresses once they turn 16). It also touches on lazy misconceptions targeting larger-breasted women: ‘the idea that you’re in charge of them; that you thought of them yourself’, plus the squeamish, hyper-sexualised attitude towards breastfeeding.
These heavyweight issues are fused into the script without lecturing the audience or providing neat conclusions. At one point, Tessa argues, ‘whose is Lila’s body?’, and there’s no easy answer, whether Lila is a bubbly three-year-old or a strong-willed eight-year-old shaping her body to someone else’s standards.
It may not provide much light relief, and some may think it’s far-fetched, but The B*easts is a believable piece that deserves to be talked about. Dolan has done herself proud by analysing our toxic blend of superficial pop culture and a parenting style that kills with kindness.
Author: Monica Dolan
Director: John Hoggarth
Producer: Suzanna Rosenthal for Something for the Weekend
Box Office: 03333 444 167
Booking Link: http://www.underbellyedinburgh.co.uk/whats-on/the-beasts
Booking Until: 27 August 2017