Are you ready for the beach? The Roaring Girls haven’t been for a long time but they really are getting there. Beach Body Ready is playing at the Pleasance Courtyard’s Above venue at this year’s Edinburgh Fringe.

We saw it, we mocked it, we loved the social media obliteration of the deeply patronising ‘Are you beach body ready?’ advert of 2015. In a world of expanding waistlines, body image is going to continue to be a hot topic and this production joyously gives us an insight into the mind of a fat person. Yes, I said fat. I said it because much of this show is about breaking down the stigmas and language associated with those who have body issues. The Roaring Girls want us to normalise and reclaim the insulting language.

It isn’t all about tipping the scales though. Only two of these three women has struggled being overweight; we are also given the story of a woman who is perceived as ‘normal’ but has carried a plethora of emotional baggage about her body image around for as long as she can remember. It makes for strong and contrasting content when the focus could have just been on obesity.

Beach Body Ready is a deeply candid production, feeling much more like a highly entertaining and extremely funny conversation rather than a traditional theatre piece. It tells the auto-biographical stories, the struggles and triumphs of three women, each with their own perception of their bodily battles over the years. That is not to say there is no drama – there is much angst and heart strings tugged at their treatment at the hands of family, friends and often most shockingly, strangers who felt the need to comment on them.

So what do we take away from this performance? A fist pumping desire to champion all bodies – tick. A healthy reminder to be kind, as you never know what someone has been through – tick. Perhaps the simplest of all – that a body (and mind) is a work in progress, and though it is frustrating that it never just stays still and does as it’s told or is willed to do, it is what you have right now. So make the most of it.

Beach Body Ready is empowering, honest and a breath of fresh air.

Owain is a lecturer in Acting and Drama at the University of Northampton. Side careers in performing, writing and directing theatre when the opportunities arise. He has an MA in Actor Training and Coaching from the Royal Central School of Speech and Drama.

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