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Bag For LIfe (Chloe Arrowsmith)

Bag for Life, Greenside @ Infirmary Street (Olive Studio) – Review

Pros: The topic is weighty.

Cons: The show didn’t make me feel any wiser.

Pros: The topic is weighty. Cons: The show didn't make me feel any wiser. Suicide is a particularly important issue in Britain, where it is the leading cause of death for men under 45. That’s why it has become an increasingly recurrent topic in fringe theatre, where it is covered from many different angles. In this new piece, written and directed by Eve Walton, the subject is developed in the form of a dark comedy, with a quite unexpected final twist. Laura (Aimee Cross) walks into a room to find a man lying on the floor with a plastic bag…

Summary

Rating

Good

A dark comedy where the timely issue of male suicide is depicted through stereotypes.

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Suicide is a particularly important issue in Britain, where it is the leading cause of death for men under 45. That’s why it has become an increasingly recurrent topic in fringe theatre, where it is covered from many different angles. In this new piece, written and directed by Eve Walton, the subject is developed in the form of a dark comedy, with a quite unexpected final twist.

Laura (Aimee Cross) walks into a room to find a man lying on the floor with a plastic bag wrapped around his head. Sure thing, she jumps ahead and manages to save him, just seconds before the fatal deed. Between the two an unlikely conversation starts up, in which, despite the initial reluctance, Toby (Jason Bridge) is easily convinced to disclose many details about his private and professional life, including those who lead him to be on the verge of suicide.

Being diagnosed with a fertility dysfunction just days before his wife announced her pregnancy, he decides to preserve an appearance of normality, until his wife’s dirty secret takes its toll and drives him into a self-destructive loop. Rejected by his family and fired from work for some suspicious financial manoeuvres, suicide seems to him the only solution.

Meanwhile, as she plays Scrabble with Toby, Laura avoids all questions about herself, until dramatic circumstances oblige her to reveal the real reasons behind her visit – which isn’t what one would expect.

Offering a shallow depiction of a potential suicide situation, Walton seems to disregard the fact that self-harming instincts are symptoms of  poor mental health that may require years of therapy and medication. More often than not, the triggers are underlying and strictly related to depression, which comes with many nuances. This stereotypical portrayal, including a final scene with no sense of purpose, brings no contribution to a better understanding of the issue, nor does it provide food for thought.

Written and Directed by: Eve Walton
Producer: LS6 Theatre
Booking Information: This show has now completed its run.

About Marianna Meloni

Marianna Meloni
Marianna, being Italian, has an opinion on just about everything and believes that anything deserves an honest review. Her dream has always been to become an arts critic and, after collecting a few degrees, she realised that it was easier to start writing in a foreign language than finding a job in her home country. In the UK, she tried the route of grown-up employment but soon understood that the arts and live events are highly addictive.