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‘This is as honest as it gets’: A BLOODY SHAMBLES – Living Record Festival (Online review)

This 20-minute audio play is written, performed and sound-designed by Ella Dorman-Gajic. A Bloody Shambles shares a day in the life of Jess, who suffers from both heavy flow and period poverty.

Yes, we are talking about something that half the population will understand; any person who menstruates will know exactly where Jess is coming from. This is as honest as it gets, a description of flesh, blood, and belly cramps, and an inability to cope with what nature throws into the mix each month.

Not only does Jess have to hide the fact her sanitary products (when she can afford them) don’t offer adequate protection, she is also hampered by the base stupidity of her mum’s boyfriend and their white-covered house.

Although the “tampon tax” now means sanitary products no longer attract VAT as a “luxury product” (!), the cost is still out of reach for many. Period poverty is very real, and very avoidable, with targeted money, education and less fear.

As we find from Jess’ day, even food banks rarely have these products donated, and there is some evidence from other sources that tampons and pads are the most commonly shoplifted items. If you balk at that, you have to make do, with items of clothing or loo roll.

Dorman-Gajic’s script is a snapshot in one life, where all the things that can go wrong (and that most of us who have periods can attest to with a grimace) happen in one day.

Something half the population go through which is often ignored or not mentioned by the other half, and while that remains the case attitudes will not change, and growing girls will still feel they have something “dirty” that they “have to hide”.

This is matter-of-fact writing which doesn’t hide the brutal truth, also touching on the inconvenience and possible dangers of communal living and family abuse. Jess’s mother, who should know better, buys her daughter a cruel gift, and treats her little better than a messy pet.

A Bloody Shambles is currently streaming in the Living Record Festival – for more details go here. 40% of ticket sales go towards the charity Bloody Good Period, which is a London-based charity giving period products to those who can’t afford then, and proving menstrual education to those less likely to access it.

LouReviews received complimentary access to review A Bloody Shambles.

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