This show is strong, charming and truly moving, and as such I would recommend it for all audiences.
Hirst gives a strong account playing herself – she is consistently connected to the rest of the cast and her upbeat tone during the show is a rock upon which the less than upbeat information is relayed. And the incredibly musically talented Rianna Dearden provides an utterly charming counterbalance to Hirst’s performance. She is always focused on either Hirst or her instruments, and provides the occasional hilarious interjection. It is a pleasure watching her performance. Illiona Linthwaite, too, offers strong, rooted acting, which provides a lovely change of feel when it is required. On occasion, we feel Linthwaite could increase the pace of her cues, but overall she carries herself admirably.
The main scene where the show falls down is the change of tact to a very highly emotionally charged monologue by Hirst. Being a show about herself, while knowing she is acting, it feels out of place and works to undermine the feeling of empathy we have for her through the rest of the play. We also lose the sense of connected acting from Dearden and Linthwaite during this scene as it suddenly feels like they are ‘acting’ it rather than living it. That being said, this show is strong, charming and truly moving, and as such I would recommend it for all audiences. It has a special significance for those affected by cancer or loss in the family and is heart-warming and heart-rending in equal measures.
I can easily see this show touring schools or institutions as an educational show about breast cancer, as it relays a large amount of important information in a very engaging manner. It is beautifully staged and designed, with just about the right amount of atmosphere and props, while not feeling cluttered.