Jane Sutcliffe, The Slender Balance

Review in Issue 6-2 | Summer 1994

In an exhilarating and exacting solo performance, Jane Sutcliffe takes us through the seven stages of eating and then evokes the trauma of diet, temptation, denial, binge and the aftermath. This is taut and effective physical theatre. The performers’ excellent physical technique is married with a strong commitment to the material which is mostly well structured, though at times the spoken text detracts from the visual momentum. A soundtrack of songs and narrative and effects is present almost throughout and sometimes is a bit too much. However, when post binge vomiting transposes gradually to stunned shame and self disgust the sound of Suzanne Vega’s ‘Small Blue Thing’ makes this a heart-rending moment and the most poignant in the show.

There is much emphasis on the sensuality of our relationship with food and of the complex rationalisation which people with eating disorders engage in. The dominance of food over everyday living is symbolised by an enormous fridge which the performer carries in on her back and which forms the centre of most of the action and is the source of props and costume throughout. References to relationships of anorexic women with their mothers were perhaps too fleeting and not fully enough explored. Slender Balance is a professional and at times compelling piece which looks at a sensitive and important subject with unflinching candour.

Taken from a review originally published in Partnerships Magazine, March 1994. With thanks to Artlink for reproduction.

Presenting Artists
Presenting Festival
Presenting Venue
Date Seen
  1. Feb 1994

This article in the magazine

Issue 6-2
p. 20