Rhino Room
Until 22 Feb 2020

Review by Helen Karakulak

Jack Lynch’s “Confessions from the Bell Jar” is a delightful look at the relevancy of Sylvia Plath’s work. Only gaining notoriety after taking her own life, Plath’s work chronicles depression and distress using an evocative balance of creative metaphors and intense bluntness. Despite the 57 years that have passed since her death, Lynch showcases that her work is as relevant as ever in a genuine and encouraging performance.

Lynch creates an intimate environment that elevates the transferable nature of Plath’s work. Through well-composed song and personal anecdotes, it is seen that today that the emotion and heart behind Plath’s prose is applicable to a contemporary man’s own struggle with emotional health. By sharing carefully chosen quotes from Plath’s works, Lynch provides context to what they reflect in his own experiences and their overall relevancy to our society. This allows those unfamiliar with Plath’s impact to appreciate that even in death, she’s immortalised by her ability to articulate such prevalent mental health issues.

This original cabaret’s strength lies in its unified theme, well-outlined through dialogue between songs, and relevant lyrics. While Lynch’s commanding stage presence and witty dialogue is inventive, abrasive vocals in some songs are detracting from the direct emotional conversation that cabaret performances should maintain with their audiences.

The subject matter ran the risk of being a lot to unpack in a mere hour, but the pace is well-maintained and respects the audience’s intelligence. Lynch doesn’t drag or condescend in his analysis of Plath’s work, but rather makes you feel like a trusted friend is opening up to you. “Confessions from the Bell Jar” invites a conversation about depression, daddy-issues, overcoming adversity and more that succeeds in making you feel a little lighter upon your exit.

Rating: 3.5 stars (out of 5)