• Amy Toledano

Patricia Gets Ready (for a date with the man that used to hit her) by Martha Watson Allpress

What Is It?

A smart and powerful play about a woman reflecting on her relationship with a man who abused her.

What Is It About?

What it says on the tin. I.e., the knotty web that is domestic abuse and women’s tendency to blame themselves for others’ failings. It’s also very savvy about our blinkers when it comes to societal assumptions about sufferers of domestic violence. And it’s much more fun than all of that sounds.

How Did It Make Me Feel?

This play is eye-opening and connects strongly with the audience. It is an unflinching examination of a woman’s experience of domestic abuse, but through this explores a young woman struggling to assert a modern feminism still shackled by outdated gender norms. Angelina Chudi is a warm and witty performer who has us wrapped around her little finger from the first mischievously raised eyebrow. She deftly conveys the strength, wit and tenderness of Martha Watson Allpress’ script. The play explores the complications and contradictions of domestic abuse - (the ‘you are a cunt but I love you’ paradox) - and also touches on the 'I'm not the kind of woman who gets abused' narrative that often pollutes this issue. On occasion it feels slightly underpowered, and there are moments of mime which aren’t fully committed to. However, there are other moments that are really satisfying in their theatrical shorthand; a light snaps on above the performer’s head and we understand that she's in the shower. And mostly, to its credit, the production leaves Chudi alone to tell the story. On the night I went, audience members ‘hmmed’ and nodded along to some of the lines. Chudi’s conversational performance style capitalised on this, making the production feel like the nuanced and empathetic dialogue that this issue desperately needs.

Anything Else?

This play was performed initially at the White Bear last year, and I hope it gets a further run.

Grace AK x

Patricia Gets Ready (for a date with the man that used to hit her) is playing in the Crypt, VAULT Festival, until the 9th February 2020.

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