thick skin, elastic heart
- Anahit Behrooz
- 1 November 2019
A poetic ode to the millennial generation
thick skin, elastic heart begins before the audience are even seated, as the four actors on stage dance in sync to Elderbrook & Rudimental's 'Something About You', at its heart a song about support and empathy. It is a surprisingly compelling moment in its simplicity – made even more heartfelt by the cast's organic chemistry – and sets the scene for writer Drew Taylor-Wilson's compassionate exploration of millennial life.
Expressed entirely through spoken word poetry, the four young actors' voices alternately unite and separate, speaking to the simultaneously unique yet universal experience of issues such as mental health, queer identity and the loneliness of modernity. Vignettes repeat and deepen, unravelling beyond stereotypes as the actors gradually shed their matching pastel outfits for their own clothes, both verbally and visually deconstructing the homogenous perception of millennial life.
Incredibly wholesome and earnest, thick skin, elastic heart's unwavering sincerity occasionally gets in its own way: much of its audience will already be familiar with the subject matter, and the didacticism particularly towards the end becomes unnecessary considering who is watching. Yet what thick skin, elastic heart lacks in innovation it makes up for in heart, marrying playful language and a wry sense of humour with a powerful and effective politics of kindness.
Reviewed at Traverse Theatre, Edinburgh. Currently touring.