The Breakout at The Mill
Until 23 Feb 2020

Review by Helen Karakulak

Written by Ella Arendelle, “Wellness: A Social Justice Play” is a semi-autobiographical exploration of fatphobia and discrimination in everyday interactions.

Intensely honest, this production confronts audiences with conversations they’ve likely had, or seen. Whether it’s receiving criticism from strangers, friends deeply immersed in diet culture or unsolicited abuse on dating apps, this production presents a deeply personal experience that’s moving and educational.

Arendelle shines as Alana, a beautiful, strong woman consistently berated about her weight. Following her interactions with friends and strangers, audiences are invited to question insensitivity as a result of lack of representation and the single-minded perspective that there is such a thing as an “ideal” body. Arendelle particularly comes alive delivering heart-breaking monologues that explore the power that weight-based discrimination has, and how it impacts various parts of her life.

Being a verbatim collection of experiences allows a flexible structure and doesn’t require an ongoing plot, but rather a variety of plot lines attached to in-depth character work. However, there is some confusion with actors playing multiple roles, with certain characters unnamed, that interrupts flow and makes the production hard to follow at times. Regardless, this anthology of experience suits the tone of the production and allows for each member of the ensemble to have a stand-out moment while maintaining commendable cohesion as a cast.

With great characterisation and heart-warmingly authentic source material, “Wellness: A Social Justice Play” inspires and delights.

Rating: 4 stars (out of five)