Review: Too Much
By Dina Ustovic
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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.
Bold, provocative, and authentic are just some of the few words that can be used to describe Angela Faith’s latest show Too Much. A theatre comedy performance, Faith dares us to take a closer look at our own lives and the labels we use to define ourselves all while reminding us to soften our sphincters.
Charismatic, Faith is mesmerising to watch onstage as she regales us with tales of her childhood. Her ability to weave what appears at first glance a simple anecdote into an outlandish tale is enthralling to watch. Her tongue-in-cheek humour and magnetic smile simply demand the audience’s attention and makes them feel as if they are in on a personal shared secret. Bursting with energy, the hilarity ensues as the audience clamour to discover what the greatest scent in the world is.
And yet it is this playful energy and demanding presence that serves to signal to the audience the message of the show. Throughout, Faith discusses the use of labels, specifically the idea of being “too much” for anyone. Too energetic, too dramatic, too loud – Faith calls attention to the harmful effects of using such terminology to describe a person.
Although labels can be useful to navigate society and our place in it; they can also be extremely detrimental. The use of wrong terminology or even derogatory terms can result in shame and feelings of exclusion which can often affect a person’s perception of themselves. Faith reminds of this by calling attention to when we personally have been affected by being labelled, relieving the discomfort to some chagrin.
However, Faith offers us a new idea. She allows us to view this label in a new light by changing our perspective of the term. No longer “too much”, she switches the label into abundant. Abundant in energy. Abundant in resolve. Faith encourages us to embrace these aspects of ourselves with optimism. She reminds us that shame is simply a concept and that we should not allow others’ perception of us to negatively impact our mental health.
Furthermore, Faith reminds us that the idea of being too much does not need to have a negative connotation. Rather it calls for compassion and that perhaps we are simply not meeting the needs of a person within that moment. The message becomes apparent that we should not continuously feel obliged to meet someone’s needs or opinion if this will negatively impact or stifle us.
Too Much addresses mental health lightly in regards to the stigma of labels and it would have been interesting to see a more in-depth approach. However, Faith’s unique and well-articulated approach allows for a nuanced look and provides a perfect starting point for further discussion. Perhaps as we soften our sphincters one final time, we too can learn to be too much and as fearless as Faith. Three stars.