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Edinburgh Fringe 2018

Low Down

Can the liberation of one award-winning self-harming poet-dietitian be connected to all liberation? A powerful look at one woman’s story of living through a traumatised body in the brutal delusion of neoliberalism. Sexy and risky, visceral and lyrical, there is no tale of woe, no stoicism and a blunt refusal of single-story stereotype. Where else will you find a health professional who talks about shame, sex, self-harm and won’t shut up about racism and fat-shaming being unrecognised health hazards?


There aren’t enough words to explain or describe the evening that is Enough. It isn’t so much a play as an event. Lucy Aphramor’s opus is a violent attack on the social norms which drive self-harm in its many and varied forms. Her performance is imperfect, at times stilted, at times unevenly lit, and the soundscape is confusing, with the constant interruption of a crackling open mic, and yet, it all works because at its center is a raw, earnest, relentless spoken word narrative that does not let off the gas pedal.

“Fissures, fractures, superficiality,” the power of Lucy’s words is her reluctance to tell the story, making it all the more urgent and necessary, as though it isn’t so much a story she is telling but rather a story emerging from her soul as she is laid bare before us (Ironically she is the Naked Dietician though the nudity in this show is purely metaphorical but none the less powerful), as though she is the fissure, the fractures, and her story simply pours forth.

Un-tethered from time, there is a kind of linear narrative hinted at but not aggressively imposed on the piece, so Lucy is free to follow a thought or theme, and refuses to shy away from the issues of sexuality, sensuality, eating disorders, and cutting. Her words weave a mental tapestry at once seductive and repulsive, with metaphors so vivid that the artifices of the stage which at first seemed a distraction fade away and make a sort of sense as we are drawn into Lucy’s world and her call to action, to question everything, to question why we accept that we do not have enough, that we cannot give enough, that we cannot be enough.

There is a communal liberation in Lucy’s story, which is at times autobiographical; moments literal, and charming in their mediocrity, talking about her experiences as part of the Shrewsbury Poetry Crew, highly effective in their simplicity and the massive impact of small changes, and then there are the larger moments, the explicit descriptions of sexual encounters, in detail which might make a few blush if they allow themselves to be distracted from the intimacy we’ve established. There is a level of trust which Ms. Aphramor establishes with her audience which makes us feel not so much like voyeur but more like ex lover sharing an intimate moment at a café after years apart.

The true impact of Lucy’s piece is her absolute unwillingness to accept conventional wisdom, the check box medical thinking, instead plotting a different route. Her words are delicious, her metaphors often disturbingly current, “Grenfell happening now in the bodies of survivors” and the soundscape which felt at first intrusive and disconnected acts as connective tissue stitching these moments pulled from her mind and her memory together.

By the end I had long stopped writing because I was too busy listening, energized and mentally exhausted. If word play is mental gymnastics, Lucy Aphramor is an Olympic champion.