Review: Pricks

This solo performance about life with type 1 diabetes is heartfelt and engaging

★★★
theatre review (edinburgh) | Read in About 2 minutes
32047 large
Pricks. Image: Rob Irish
Published 12 Aug 2018

Vials of insulin line the shelves behind Jade Byrne, who is hiding behind a bin with her Dennis the Menace doll. In this moment, Jade is four years old and dodging the doctors who want to prick her with more needles.

She's just been diagnosed with type 1 diabetes and doesn't really understand what that means. Now, 28 years and 70,000 pricks later, she is a model patient fighting misunderstandings about the disease. Byrne energetically informs the audience that she can eat whatever she likes, can have children, and no, she didn’t develop the disease from having too much sugar as a kid. The ups and downs of blood sugar levels help form the story's highs and lows of a life with type 1.

Byrne also pays tribute to her family. They've helped her get to grips with her care, saved her from numerous hypos and are featured through voiceovers and illustrations. Adding variety to her monologue, these sections are quietly moving.

There are a couple of additional voiceovers from other people with type 1, but they contribute less to the otherwise personal story of her experiences with the condition. Byrne's story is moving and impactful; these are a distraction from her emotional responses and relationships. Otherwise, her story is engaging and fosters understanding of a serious autoimmune condition.