Edinburgh 2022: Review: BREATHLESS, Pleasance Courtyard

Review of Breathless at the Pleasance Courtyard at Edfringe

By: Aug. 10, 2022
Edinburgh Festival
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Edinburgh 2022: Review: BREATHLESS, Pleasance Courtyard

Edinburgh 2022: Review: BREATHLESS, Pleasance Courtyard

Breathless is a new play by Laura Horton performed by Madeleine MacMahon and presented by Theatre Royal Plymouth. Sophie is a woman in her 30s who lives in London and is told that her landlord is selling the flat she rents. Unable to afford anywhere else in London, she packs up her things and heads the five hours back to her parent's house to live.

The problem is, Sophie has a lot of things. Based on the playwright's real experience, Breathless tackles some of the misconceptions surrounding hoarding. While most people think of hoarding as piles and piles of old newspapers, it is clothes that Sophie keeps.

Trying to navigate dating when she's too scared to let anyone into her home is tricky. The items she collects make her feel safe and the thought of losing any of them sends her into a panic. The outfits she images wearing to events get in the way of her actually going to any events. Weddings, parties and other special occasions are ignored for the chance to go to another sample sale.

This is a character-driven piece of writing that looks at a personal account of mental illness. Horton's writing is clever and funny and although there's a sense we're only seeing the tip of the iceberg, Breathless is a compelling insight into hoarding.

Photo credit: Chris Vaughan