Written and performed by Evelyn Snook
Music by B Gosper
Directed by Kylie Bywaters
Design and AV by Clare Testoni
Lighting designer Jasmine Lifford
Blue Room until July 31, 2021
When an artist like Evelyn Snook stands alone on a stage and tells us the whys and wherefores of their life, criticism is largely an arid exercise, or at least one that operates on the margins of the drama.
A person’s life is, after all, their own, and it’s not for us to pass judgment on it, or even its worth as performance.
That said, Snook is an engaging and accurate performer who is able to convincingly and movingly reconstruct their battle with Borderline Personality Disorder, the insidious and potentially dangerous condition that affects perhaps one in fifty people, particularly teenage and young adult women.
Its symptoms – among them fear of abandonment, rapid changes in self-image and self-identity, wild mood swings, risky behavior and self-harm – make life and relationships extremely challenging.
Tragically, the risk of suicide is ever-present (studies suggest up to 10% of people suffering from BSD take their own life).
It’s admirable that Snook can take us through the toughest battles they have fought with candour, positivity and humour. The place they have reached now is clearly precious and liberating to them, and we can do nothing but share their joy.
The other pleasure of Borderline is the quality of the production the director Kylie Bywater and producer Kailyn Crabbe have built around Snook. The involvement of the award-winning shadow puppeteer and theatre maker Clare Testoni is crucial to the productions success. The show looks lovely, and the subtle, unobtrusive AV elements add immeasurably to it.
The revelation of Borderline is its musician, B Gosper. They sit quietly in a corner, with just a small smile and a guitar, and the songs they sing that punctuate the performance are sweet, gentle and deeply moving.
I would gladly listen to to the songs alone; as part of this extremely moving and uplifting show, they are a small miracle. As is Borderline.