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For the Love of Spam | Camden People's Theatre (Rehearsal Room)

Written and performed by Sierra Sevilla, For the Love of Spam is an autobiographical show that explores her love of spam, and what spam represents. Whilst first appearing as a light-hearted and comedic show, the metaphorical truth of spam becoming her lifeline grounds the show and renders it into a thought-provoking and intelligent show. Directed by Izzy Rabey, the show is a culmination of Sierra's experiences, with the right balance of love and laughter.

Sierra has a confident stage presence, oozing warmth, humour and charm. Indulging us with her unfiltered rambles about her love of spam, her personal history and then linking this love with the devastating truth about what spam actually means to her, the show is sure footed and smart. 

Whilst the show stems from Sierra's love for spam, a number of hilarious and heart breaking memories featuring it, it becomes so much more. Through her younger self's naive perspective, we begin to understand both why spam means so much to her, and how it was not a delicacy but rather a means of survival. 

The show doesn't hesitate to play into Sierra's ethnicity, playfully calling out stereotypes and incorporating it into her style of storytelling. There's a segment of using dolls as puppets and Sierra chooses to use Disney's Moana dolls for it. Bluntly disapproving of the inaccuracies of the dolls, it becomes another ironic layer to proceed to inform the audience of Guam's rich history. Another fun moment is the transitioning of the Haka dance into a Quidditch match. 

We are given a couple of short songs in the show, which allows Sierra to showcase her musical ability. These songs are the most serene moments of the show, and it's a lovely moment for processing and reflecting. The show is split into segments, each revolving around its own incident or theme such as her husband's refusal to eat spam, or an alternate reality, or her experiences in Boston. Each segment is presented to us in its own style. Yet the show never feels fragmented, as there is a clear narrative carrying the audience and the story throughout. The final segment of the show is its strongest. Sierra beautifully plays with the show's final 14 minutes, representing the time it would take for a bomb to reach and completely annihilate Guam as a whole. In true homage to the show, and as an act of great humanity, Sierra pours her heart into making Spam on stage, in a traditional style, whilst reciting the names of loved ones and fond memories. 

With the clock running, the audience being acutely aware of these minutes and the emotion powering her words, it's a gripping last act to the show. A lucky audience member is then invited to share the meal with Sierra as the lights fade. Sierra shares her vulnerability in admitting hard truths, such as her misguided wishes for natural disasters to strike Guam as a child, or how inferior she had been treated for eating spam. The universality in her experiences in the smaller moments, transform her story into one that audiences can relate too. 

The show makes good use of props creating a little structure from empty cans of spam, a broom, fire and creating a meal of spam. Accompanying these are voice overs of facts and video projections that emphasis the more serious elements of the show. For the Love of Spam is a touching and hilarious show that will doubtlessly have you looking up a recipe for spam.


AD | gifted tickets in return for an honest review | photography by Beady Films and Barbara Dudek


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