Saving Tania's Privates

Review by Ciaran Healy | 17 Aug 2008

It's a brave performer these days who takes to the stage without a gimmick. It's hard to promote a show with no angle. Whether it's a comedy magic act, or a burlesque ninja troupe, you want to have some kind of edge. When a trip from the Castle to the bar means braving a shiny thicket of flyers, yours has to stand out.

For Tania Katan, an award winning Jewish lesbian author who had a double mastectomy and ran a marathon topless, that's not really an issue.

Her chaotic energy vitalizes this production, and at breakneck pace Katan conjures a pastiche of friends, lovers and family members. There is something of the pantomime to this, an aspect of the performance that prevents the audience from fully engaging with the subject matter. But while this stifles some of the impact, it allows Katan to take her spectators through a story of heartbreak with touching humour.

The most fascinating part of this piece is the way Katan's sunny demeanour shines in the face of a disease which is taking her femininity from her (literally) piece by piece. One touching moment sees her decide whether survival has too high a price-tag.

This is no pity party. It's riotously silly throughout, so much so that by the end the audience almost needs reminding that the crazy tale Katan has told is really real. It is though. And she's got the scars to prove it.