Review: Patricia Gets Ready (for a date with the man that used to hit her), Crypt (Vault Festival 2020)

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Martini Rating: 🍸🍸🍸🍸

A refreshingly honest, witty and affecting ‘get ready with me’ like no other.

Playing on the ‘grwm’ form made famous by beauty and lifestyle vloggers, (a trend where content creators film their processes whilst addressing their audience), Martha Watson Allpress wonderfully finds a direct medium through which to tell an authentic story of abuse. She vividly captures the trauma, the questions people often have, the stigma attached, the healing process, the need for coping mechanisms, hope, the love that convinces those in abusive relationships to stay, and more. All culminating in a funny, intelligent and heart-rendering shattering of the stereotype and this projected idea of ‘shame’ around abuse. Patricia demonstrating a women owning her own narrative and telling it how she wants to. The purpose of this being, firstly, to devolve that those who haven’t experienced it can never possibly know what it’s like and it helps if they stop trying to. Secondly, to dismember the age-old idea of the ‘broken’ or ‘battered women’ that doesn’t actually exist, she doesn’t look a certain way or act a certain way, someone now putting their life back together could be anyone you know. A powerful message of unity that reminds us that survivors are of all colours, shapes and sizes, with their own stories to tell if and when they choose.

The getting ready process is therefore acted out, whilst Patricia, (Angelina Chudi), directly addresses her audience. We hear how she bumped into her ex on the street and having been taken off-guard she has accidentally agreed to go to dinner with him that night. This mishap, is instead of her delivering the kick-ass speech she’s spent a year crafting about his violent treatment of her and her own self-worth. Whilst she ponders over what to wear, what to to say and whether to actually even go, she nostalgically talks us through her past, how they met and what it was like, to her present and then her hopes for the future. A tender and personable image of recovery, with Patricia describing and even enacting the scars that remain, juxtaposed with her ultimately demonstrating her power when faced with this impossible situation and a man she still loves. Alongside, using the semantics of words to reflect the fact that the affects can never truly be understood by anyone else. Such as ‘Abuse. Verb. To treat with cruelty or violence…’, playing with the ideology that though you understand the meaning of a word, you may not actually understand what it is like. An ingenious proposition sustained throughout.

Furthermore, Chudi is sensational, her performance is warm, brimming with emotion, clarity and smart choices, bouncing off her audience to boundless comedic effect. Whilst Kaleya Baxe’s direction is again smart and dexterous, helping to accurately capture Patricia’s various states of tension as she goes from embarrassment to dread, hurt yet still totally in love to motivated and enraged. The work also includes some particularly consequential sound design, paired well with the lighting, doing much to amalgamate the overall storytelling. The only thing we would actively change is to have Patricia really getting ready rather than just mime, just to see how the realism of it affects the piece. Despite it’s heavy subject matter, Patricia Gets Ready (for a date with the man that used to hit her) is exceedingly uplifting, funny and well-written, definitely worth a watch.

If you would like to see Patricia Gets Ready (for a date with the man that used to hit her) at Vault Festival click here.

 

 

Playwright – Martha Watson Allpress

Director – Kaleya Baxe

Performer – Angelina Chudi

Sound Design- Beth Duke

Production/ Technical- Steven Frost

Producer – Nur Khairiyah Bte Ramli

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