The B*easts by Monica Dolan
First published, 2017
⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐
How I loved reading this play. Difficult, impassioned and powerful. The play deals with the extremely difficult subject of child sexualisation, the role of the media, the family, and what weight can be put on a child’s own decisions. A remarkable read. No sooner had I finished it, I went back and read it again.
The main character is Tessa, a psychotherapist who has been treating the mother of a little girl, growing up in modern Britain. The child has lived much as any other child does, with the influences of magazines and society, but she craves attention and is so intent on growing up immediately, that she wears high heels, makeup, and wants breasts from a very early age.
The issues which are raised in the play are shocking and terribly important. They include the struggle inherent in raising a precocious child, cosmetic surgery for children, the loneliness of need, the question of familial abuse, and sexual assault.
I have admired Monica Dolan as an actress for a long time, but this was my first encounter with her writing.
It’s tremendous. Highly recommended.