EDINBURGH 2019: BWW Review: LADYBONES, Pleasance
Nuala (Sorcha McCaffrey) greets the audience as they come in and introduces herself. She says that the show contains audience participation but that its "totally chill" if you don't want to be involved. If you do want to be involved you can put on a large pink sticker indicating you're happy to join in. For someone who is very much not keen on audience participation, I thought this was an excellent way to do it without making anybody uncomfortable.
Nuala is working on an archaeological dig when they find the body of a teenage girl. At first, she is fascinated from a work perspective but it starts to affect her more deeply as she questions why this girl was buried facedown in the dirt.
Nuala has OCD, depression and seasonal affective disorder. We hop between her real life and the conversations she has with her therapist Julia. Audience members who are willing are drafted in to play the roles of different people in her life. While the interaction was amusing, I found that the reliance on audience participation made the story a little weak in places.
Ladybones touches more on the personal side of OCD rather than the clinical. Nuala tells us what exactly is happening in her head during certain situations and how she is drawing parallels between this buried skeleton and her own life. The idea of 'good' and 'bad' numbers and rituals are touched on but the main focus here is the intrusive thoughts- which is something that you don't often see at the forefront of work about OCD and is really important.
Ladybones is good, solid storytelling about mental illness that focuses on an individual rather than the diagnosis and doesn't sensationalise.