Review: Does it Please You?
By Alicia Sullivan
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mindshare is a creative community and online mental health publication. Reflections are by mindshare writers with lived experience of mental illness, specifically critiquing through a mental health lens. Content may contain triggering themes.
“Does it please you?”: the running question that lingers in the air throughout this show. Taylor Nobes, the creator of Does it Please You? (Taylor’s first original show) explores the weight of others’ expectations and the impacts that it has on our mental health, with the help of her talented support cast. Everyone involved in the production gets a chance to showcase their talent with their unique form of storytelling — whether that be comedy, dance, singing or spoken word.
Does it Please You weaves comedy and emotional vulnerability effortlessly. It is in full display in the first scene in the show. Taylor is wanting to start the show with a monologue but struggling to begin, displaying signs of anxiety and panic about doing so. She even jokes that the show is already over. It is a clever nod to the themes that arise later.
The production uses humour to showcase and challenge stereotypes and moulds we place people in. Using an over-the-top host who displays signs of casual racism, misogyny and toxic masculinity, Does it Please You? amplifies how society can pigeonhole performers due their ethnicity and stifle performers. Luckily, the host is not a permanent character of the show, as they are grating and unfunny.
Half the show focuses on the doubts performers have: if they are good enough; disappointing their loved ones; trying to fit in; blowing their big chance. The second half challenges the voices in their heads, finding ways of not going down that dark tunnel (depression) and not losing themselves to please others. Taylor’s two original songs and “bad bitch” dance routine intertwined these halves seamlessly. Her vocal talents captivated me to listen to every line, making me feel emotional.
The most impactful scene of the show was the final monologue. It started with Taylor again avoiding starting the monologue. But then, without warning, she delved in with such passion and fire in her voice, focusing on the price we pay when seeking to please others. The most poignant message of this monologue was you do not need to fit into a mould to be talented or worthy!
Taylor’s aim of creating this show was to break the stigma around mental health and challenge the notion of being less of a person because you have a mental illness. She wanted to communicate that we aren’t broken or alone because of our challenges.
Does it Please You? Yes, it pleased me very much. I give it four stars.