STAGE REVIEW: Raising Shame @ Northern Stage, Newcastle (22.02.20) | NARC. | Reliably Informed | Music and Creative Arts News for Newcastle and the North East

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This is no period drama. Encompassing period poverty, access, affordability and the disappointing – startling – lack of information available to young people through our education system, Raising Shame is written and directed by Bethan Kitchen, narrated by Sarah Boulter (bringing aspirational ‘cool teacher’ vibes) and stars Brogan Gilbert, Melody Sproats and Wambui Hardcastle.

Featuring characters that flit between ages, gender identities, life situations – and even between bully and victim – we explore ineptitude, judgement, misunderstanding and ignorance (alongside the mystery of moon cups and some awkwardly relatable sexual experiences) this blunt and blistering collection of true stories knits together real-life experiences of young people in the North East.

A trans boy grows up in a female body, bleeding and feeling like a fraud, ‘becoming a woman’ after trying so hard to be a man; a girl of ten improvises alone without support, ridiculed by young teens who use being ‘on’ to get out of anything; a Nigerian refugee confesses her heartbreaking story of sexual slavery and female genital mutilation, unable to afford shop-bought products and wondering how she could ask for more from an England that has already given her so much.

Showcasing the commodification and politicisation of our bodies, Raising Shame punctuates hard-hitting stories with absurd comedy, leaving us privy to moments of solidarity, groaning with cringe, and leaving the show as allies, soulmates even.

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