Presented at Shoreditch Town Hall in advance of the Edinburgh Fringe, the preview performance of Tell Me Anything by On the Run (Hannah Moss and David Ralfe) showed great promise. It is the story of fifteen-year-old David and his then girlfriend Kate, who was suffering from an eating disorder (atypical anorexia, though as the show is told through the teenage David’s point of view, her condition is referred to alternately as anorexia and bulimia).
With the help of a giant inflatable dolphin, David explores his relationship with Kate, shedding light on his own issues on the way. The show could easily have been seen as exploitative, with a man giving his side of things rather than focusing on the sufferer. However, this wasn’t the case at all. The effect that an individual’s eating disorder has on loved ones is important too, and the show effectively explores David’s well-intentioned but not always appropriate determination to support Kate. The cast and crew list mentions an eating disorders expert, so the group have obviously taken care when tackling this important issue.
The dolphin represents friendship, guidance and gentle nudging, according to the book Skills Based Learning for Caring For a Loved One with an Eating Disorder by Professor Janet Treasure. The show is a sympathetic, sensitive look at teenage love and eating disorders and I think it would be a good choice of production to see if you’re going to the Fringe this year.