The opening scenes of Zebra Girl see the cashmere jumper and pearl earring-clad anti-heroine Catherine stab her unsuspecting partner in the eye with a pink-handled kitchen knife. The protagonist then wraps the bleeding head of her lover’s dead body in a pink towel without so much as batting an eyelid.

This spectacle, combined with the slasher movie camera angles and score sets the tone for what is to come: a blacker-than-coal comic undercurrent and striking visuals punctuated by the key character’s obsession with pink. The story walks a tightrope between irreverent humour and devastating tragedy.

Originally an acclaimed one-woman play performed by Sarah Roy at Edinburgh Fringe in 2017, the tale was reworked for the screen with director Stephanie Zari. The feature brings on board the brilliant Tom Cullen as Catherine’s husband and Jade Anouka as her childhood friend Anita. A bold and original debut, the film’s twists and turns subvert expectations while challenging the stigma around mental illness abuse in a novel way.

We chatted with Roy about taking her performance from stage to screen, how humour can help us tackle taboo issues and overcoming a fear of spiders.

By Sarah Bradbury. First published on The Upcoming on 8th June 2021.

Zebra Girl is released in select cinemas on 28th May 2021.

Watch the trailer for Zebra Girl here: