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Bite by Emily Steel

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Afternoon Drama on BBC Radio 4

BBC Radio 4, 3 May 2012
 
Dee (Lucy Montgomery) has severe food issues; she does not eat eggs, vegetables, meat, fish, and most milk products. She can manage a certain brand of cream cheese with white bread; perhaps brown bread on occasions, but it should not have bits in it. Her difficulties can be traced back to when she was three years old, when she had a hamburger thrust into her face.
 
For most of the time she lives a hermit-like existence, refusing all requests to go to lunch with her co-workers, or go to dinner with her friend Julie (Jodie Whittaker). She goes out briefly with Julie's brother Ray (Tim Key), a taciturn personality with a fondness for food, but this relationship fizzles out when Ray takes her to restaurant and offers her a ten-course dinner including all the food she loathes.
 
However Julie eventually forces Dee to visit her flat to celebrate her birthday for a meal cooked by Ray. Once again Dee experiences severe difficulties trying to eat the food, including oysters, mashed potato and lamb shank, and vomits it up. However this experience proves cathartic: she meets up with Ray once again in Julie's kitchen, and the two of them resolve to try and overcome their fears. Dee will try her best to eat different foods, while Ray will try to overcome his taciturnity.
 
Containing subtstantial asides delivered by Dee direct to listeners, Bite depicts in a humorous way the difficulties experienced by an individual in trying to come to terms with her fears. She can never actually tell people about her unusual tastes, for fear of offending them; instead, she has to go through near-hellish eating experiences. Kate McAll's production dramatized these experiences by means of ominous music, forming a backdrop to Dee's soliloquies; trying to eat mashed potato resembled going through hell.
 
While Dee still had difficulties with her diet, by the end of the play she had at last resolved to try and change. Partly this was due to her gradual discovery that others - including Ray - suffered just as much as herself, even though his suffering was slightly different. Once she felt she was no longer alone in her struggles, then she felt much more confident.