Review: Bezerk Productions' I'm Spilling My Heart Out HereBy Caroline Cook
March 04, 2013
Berzerk Productions: I'm Spilling My Heart Out Here
Friday, March 1
The Oakwood Centre, Woodley
You have to feel sorry for the parents who will be trying to washing blood stains out of costumes from I'm Spilling My Heart Out Here.
Thick, oozing, gloopy blood, seeped out in shocking measure for Berzerk Productions' latest show, with the red stuff being spat, streaked and smeared around the white-draped set.
Vomit was hurled on to denim jeans and a girl writhed across the floor, pulling a bloodied heart from her chest.
Powerfully disgusting, and genuinely shocking, the visuals in I'm Spilling My Heart Out, created by talented Reading College student Joanna Stokes, were full technicolour gore, but without any sense of being gratuitous.
Each spot of blood was woven into Stacey Gregg's story, a tale of tortured teens with their every day problems - bullying and popularity - and the headline hitting stuff, like teen death and grooming.
Jazmin Perry was a stand-out as misunderstood popular girl Alexa, who turned from preppy, pretty girl, to blood-stained victim, with Wilson (Somer Jones) providing some fantastic light relief with her sharp wit and deadpan humour.
After a tentative beginning the young cast found their feet and grew as the play progressed, with the actors relishing in the tougher stuff, rather than being afraid of it. The more the blood seeped out and the stronger the performances became.
Although Gregg's play deals with teenage themes with sensitivity and honesty, some threads, like a very brief lesbian relationship, seem more a box ticking exercise for 'things teens might be dealing with', rather than a developed plot.
But Bezerk clearly put its stamp on the work with frieze frames, and clever use of a projection screen showing tweets and Facebook posts, creating a contemporary piece of theatre.
Director Matt Whitelock notes in the programme that the play almost never made it to the stage and it is easy to see the logistical, technical and emotional challenges the work presents.
But the cast have risen to the challenge and created a piece of theatre that is bold, brutal and very, very bloody.