I wasn’t sure what to expect when I took my seat in the intimate theatre space. Front row, my chair had a single red rose placed upon it with a little note telling me to throw when instructed. ‘So there’ll be audience participation’ I thought, and I sat clutching the bloom – ready. But I wasn’t ready.
I wasnt ready for one woman (albeit with the support of a tremendous musician and a team of women creatives) to entertain me for an hour and a half. I wasn’t ready to laugh and cry in such quick succession. I wasn’t ready for the rawness of the language and the feelings it evoked. I wasn’t ready to go back in time to my own experiences of childhood, adolescence, heartbreak, hope, betrayal, vulnerability and stength. I wasn’t ready to leave the theatre feeling that I must’ve met Melissa Johns before. That she was at once my friend, my sister, my daughter – me. I wasn’t ready.
Beautiful, horrible, hilarious.
I told Melissa afterwards that for me these three words summed up her show – but I should have included brave. She’d probably laugh at that – an echo of the word so often used to describe her and her limb difference – but it was a very, very brave performance.
Famous enough for her unsolicited nudes to be published next to Jennifer Lawrence’s, Melissa Johns opens herself up and shows us the truth of it all. Snatched may be a very personal story that never shies away from the protagonist’s limb difference, but elements will ring true to every person in the audience, regardless of the body they live in. Johns immerses us in her pain and then comforts us with her humour and by the end we find ourselves furious that anyone would ever dream of exploiting her or anyone. She doesn’t ask for our sympathy. Johns only asks to be seen in her entirety and not just the parts that a trashy journalist thought you’d want to peruse over your morning coffee.
Melissa’s final message is powerful and I don’t want to give it away. Just know that it hit me quite hard and came at an opportune time. Lets just say I left with a lot of feelings and I can’t wait to see what Johns creates next.
Go and see the show.
Love Rachel ❤