Mindy Dillard’s How to Survive a Poison Apple plays out like an self-affirmation seminar, and while it no doubt plays well to certain audiences, as a piece of theatre it lacks the emotional depth to connect to the material if you have no connection to her central theme.
Dillard, a self-confessed “eating disorder survivor”, combines music and self-affirmation with the unattainable imagary of the Disney princess as the backdrop to her message of empowerment in overcoming her disorder and in giving hope to others. The program notes speak volumes to Dillard’s intent as it talks of performing the show in “treatment centres, colleges, churches and other places of healing” and giving a portion of proceeds of her Vancouver Fringe performances to the Looking Glass Foundation.
And while all laudable, for How to Survive a Poison Apple to work as theatre Dillard needs to balance the positive, cheerful side of her affirmation with what was most likely a much darker path to recovery.
How to Survive a Poison Apple written and performed by Mindy Dillard. Playing at Studio 1398 (1398 Carthwright St, Granville Island) as part of the 2014 Vancouver Fringe Festival. Visit http://vancouverfringe.com for tickets and information.