Review: Spin, Kate Sumpter, Ed Fringe, by Hannah Goslin

 out of 5 stars (4 / 5)

If i’m entirely honest, I couldn’t spend time on a spin bike for more than 10 minutes, let alone 1 whole hour and while acting as well.

This is what makes Spin so unique. This one hour production, based on eating disorders, the social pressures of bodies, particularly female identifying bodies and the influence we can have on each other, comes from the point of view of one person who has (in her opinion at the start) changed her life around to become a spin class instructor. During this time, 80-90% of the production is this one performer constantly on a spin bike, lacking sweat and not missing a single breath. This is commitment and talent.

This monologue features information on her past, her own eating and fitness journey, the impressions enforced on us from the media, on her and her sister that anything that isn’t thin is wrong and disgusting and we see her almost convincing herself that what she is saying, is what she believes. But we know it isn’t, and so does she. We witness her go through a turmoil of changing opinions, guilt and questioning of realism.

As mentioned previously, she manages to perform this on a spin bike and if not, she is up on stage, with every bit of power and action in her. If she has been drinking coffee, I for sure need to know what brand for that energy level. But of course, this is more than a caffeine hit; this is a well constructed level of fitness and performance talent to allow her to do both simultaneously.

The narrative, written by Kate Sumpter (also our performer) is very raw and honest. It touches on our own insecurities, no matter our body types, how judgemental we are without necessarily knowing that we are and how utterly influenced we are. I found myself questioning, as I always feel I do as a curvy woman, when performances, on stage or screen, talk about weight and eating issues and the performer(s) are a thin, beautiful person that I would love to be. And I caught myself, during the narrative she expresses of everyone judging bodies, doing the exact same, wondering what this person had to complain about. I checked myself and knew that what Sumpter had written, was emanating subconsciously within me. It isn’t a thought I believe, representing my own insecurities and realised very quickly that this production is hugely important in recognising that unconscious bias that we all have.

Spin is a tour de force of performance ability, physically and mentally and is extremely well written for anyone, female identifying or other, who struggles on the whole spectrum of body issues and influences from the media. It puts everything in perspective and makes you question your own subconscious.

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