‘It’s a disease teenage girls get!’ shouts Chris as flatmate Paul challenges him about the eating disorder which has so obviously taken control of his friend’s life. Angus Graham-Campbell’s play, From Morning Sun Till Dine, set in Edinburgh in the 1980’s must have been cutting edge in its time, and although gender preconceptions around eating disorders have largely been abolished the overarching theme is no less relevant for the current ‘Instagram generation’.
The audience first meet Chris (Alex Legard) cooking up a storm in the kitchen, seemingly a great lover of food and regaling Northern Irish Paul (Fabian Bevan) with tales of meals he has eaten with his girlfriend. Paul, meanwhile, has his own concerns, having come to Edinburgh to study, leaving his family and friends behind in The Troubles and who is now conflicted about whether to stay or go.
Music plays in the background as clues are revealed about Chris’ health and the soundtrack to the play is used to dramatic effect when the scenes turn silent and the audience hold their breath for the latest revelation. This feeling perfectly encapsulates much of the tense drama, so raw and heart-wrenching that you could hear a pin-drop in the sold-out theatre space as the drama unfolds.
The actors are convincing in their respective roles – Legard as the privileged, boarding school educated, Chris, whose life suggests he has had very little to worry about; now at University and living in a self-contained flat in his parents’ New Town house with a career in the army waiting. Bevan as Paul on the other hand has not had his troubles to bear but does everything in his power to help his friend despite his reticence.
The desire to conceal the truth, the obsession with food and the reluctance to accept help will be symptoms all too familiar for those who have suffered, or who have watched someone suffer, with an eating disorder and the subject is dealt with sensitively but with a powerful truth by young director, Freddie Robarts.