Kalim Patel learns that you don’t have to be perfect to be beautiful

If you were disappointed with the amount of nudity that your first few weeks at Uni have provided then the flesh-filled Dear Body would have certainly made up for it. Naked actors and actresses graced the stage proudly with their refreshingly ordinary but, as the show demonstrated, equally beautiful bodies.

The story charted the struggles of a timid and insecure woman as she attempts to try and mould her body into the perfect shape. However, what exactly this perfection means is somewhat unclear and how it is supposed to be achieved is even more so. Dragged in too many different directions by various personal trainers, weight-watchers, health gurus and the like, she eventually breaks free from their grip and celebrates her body as it is. Before long though she is drawn back into a crippling self-consciousness and embarks on all sorts of extreme surgery to conform to what she has been told her body should be like, resulting in a strangely hilarious but equally tragic final scene in which our protagonist appears mutilated and bandaged but, supposedly, perfect.

Expressed mainly through the medium of some wonderfully choreographed dance with the aid of some dialogue, the show managed to be both a humorous celebration of the very experience of having a body and a warning of the damaging psychological effects that an image-obsessed society can have on individuals.

In the face of a constant tide of advertising telling us how our bodies should and shouldn’t be, ‘Dear Body’ is a welcome and precious gem of a show.

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