When a friend is going through a tough time and doesn’t want to talk about it, it can be hard to know how best to help them. Bring round a bottle of prosecco or three? Fire up Mean Girls on Netflix and order in pizza? Instead, Rhiannon Faith and Maddy Morgan made a show about it.
From the outset, Faith is a self-confessed neurotic, scared of everything. The show begins with a list of phobias, from the exotic to the mundane. Ablutophobia – the fear of washing. Arachibutyrophobia – the fear of peanut butter sticking to the roof of your mouth, and so on. Then it delves deeper, exploring darker fears about sex and motherhood – the things we shouldn’t talk about. Morgan is the patient foil to her panicking friend, always running to the rescue and mopping up the drama.
To try and get over her fears, Faith seeks the help of her mother-in-law, psychotherapist Joy Griffiths. Together, she and Morgan attend cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT), videotaping the sessions and interpreting them as dance pieces. First up, we learn that feelings of anxiety are the result of the body’s response to stressful situations – the classic adrenaline-fuelled ‘fight or flight’ reaction causing the shallow breath, racing heart and knotted stomach of a panic attack. Then we see CBT in action as Faith conquers her fear of answering the phone, stemming from being dumped over the phone by an early boyfriend. It’s played for over-dramatic laughs, but does a good job of illustrating the process of therapy, taking back control of past events and the feelings they evoke.
Halfway through, the focus shifts. The pair explore their formative teenage sexual experiences, each distressing in their own right and leaving their mark on the adult woman. We’re made to watch Morgan unravel in front of us, while Faith can only try and punch through the wall of pain to help her friend. It’s unsettling and achingly hard to watch in places, but ultimately a testament to friendship and the benefits of identifying, acknowledging and ultimately tackling our deepest fears. (KA)
Scary Shit is on at 13.45 at Pleasance Courtyard until August 29th (not 15th or 22nd). Wheelchair Acess, Level Access, Hearing Loop - https://tickets.edfringe.com/whats-on/scary-shit
Help for survivors of sexual assault: http://www.nhs.uk/Livewell/Sexualhealth/Pages/Sexualassault.aspx
What is cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT)?: http://www.babcp.com/Public/What-is-CBT.aspx
The phobia list: http://phobialist.com/