Reviewed by Nikki Cotter
Opening Night verdict ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
Premiering in Warrington’s Pyramid Arts Centre, ‘Identities’ by Rae Bell in partnership with Close To Home Productions shines a humorous and incredibly moving light on breast cancer, more specifically the journey one fictional character ‘Lucy’ and her brilliant boobs take.
Writer and performer Rae Bell allows Lucy’s boobs to do the talking in a succinct 60 minutes; the length of time it takes to perform a standard lumpectomy. Joining Bell on stage as left boob is Hannah Harquart, the two make for a perfect pairing. They’re bickering like sisters one moment then each other’s absolute rocks the next. The duo have a real ease about them ensuring the audience immediately gets on board with their creative storytelling. There’s a genuine warmth in their delivery as you quickly grow attached to their characters, making the development of the piece all the more emotional as we move from carefree nights out to consultant appointments.
The verbatim interviews which play out during the latter part of the show add an additional depth as the emotional & important reality of the subject matter is realised. Humour weaves through the entire production ensuring this piece never feels oppressive despite the subject matter.
The creative way in which the story unfolds allows for awareness raising to run alongside superb storytelling littered with belly laughs throughout. It’s the perfect blend of hilarity and heart-wrenching reality.
Director Maya Shimmin has ensured Rae Bell’s vision is realised with each aspect of the show uniting perfectly to ensure the storytelling takes centre stage here. The piece feels accessible and innovative and I’m sure will open up conversations for all who have the pleasure of seeing it.
Identities is packed full of humour and a whole lot of heart, it absolutely succeeds in raising awareness while being thoroughly entertaining; this is important and innovative theatre.
More information on Identities as well as tour dates can be found here.