ensemble theatre · buried moon productions · Ages 14+ · United States

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Review by anonymous

My overall impression

MisShapen takes on a serious subject—the trauma of distorted body image—with sincerity, insight, and lots of youthful energy and humor. The large ensemble cast—all in their 20s—works surprisingly well in the small space, using blackouts and well-chosen props to switch between a variety of scenes. Several solo pieces address the very real psychic turmoil that people inflict on themselves because of their dislike or even disgust of their own bodies. The actors’ honesty and vulnerability in these scenes brought cheers from the audience. The stories of three women struggling with self-image and self-esteem issues are interwoven between the monologues. The mood swings in these scenes from a desperate exercise session to a hurtful lovers’ quarrel to a hilarious pity party where a woman is rescued from her own self-loathing by her adoring pet, a rambunctious but well-meaning dog. Adding to the fun, a trio of bitchy back stabbing “mean girls” appear throughout the play to give comic voice to the negative self-talk that undermines the three women’s good intentions about healthy eating and exercise. With so much going on, some potentially interesting moments get lost in the shuffle. On the whole, though, the actors’ heartfelt performances and their infectious sense of fun give a fresh perspective to a topic that image-conscious Angelenos take all too seriously.

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