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

It’s taken an hour; she’s described year six prom, the mishandling of abuse and a litany of strange yet relevant happenings; I think she’s finally ready, but that is neither for us to decide nor know. Patricia Gets Ready (for a date with a man that used to hit her) is sharp, perhaps a little heavy-handed, and leaves the audience with some very uncomfortable questions.

Patricia Gets Ready (for a date with the man that used to hit her)Patricia (Angelina Chudi) arrives home, and in direct address, tells the audience her plans for the ensuing date with her past abuser. In this strangely distant, somewhat confessional monologue, Patricia talks the audience through the messy, impossible web of abuse. She unashamedly describes the process by which women are ensnared, groomed and indoctrinated. She spends most of the play dismantling the conventions and tropes we ascribe to survivors of abuse. The playwright (Martha Watson Allpress) is very effective in a holistic unpacking of both the psychology of survival and the problematic urges we have to explain away abuse and misplace responsibility.

Angelina Chudi is excellent and creates a playful rapport with the audience. The play is funny; Watson Allpress is very good at making the audience laugh and later question whether we should have laughed. Chudi is cerebral, has great stage presence and while she is perhaps too polished, is very believable. She is able to convey the severity of Patricia’s experience and provokes her audience well; however, a few moments of rawness and more dynamic physical presence would have brought out the brutality of the play.

I would say, however, that the play has a creeping tendency towards a lack of subtly and space for the audience to think. While it is a topic you cannot easily beat around the bush with, there is always something to be said for showing rather than telling. That being said, within the play is a refusal to give the audience easy answers, firstly because there aren’t any, and secondly, because that would make this play a closed book. There are a lot of moments when the audience expects a payoff of some kind, and is not granted that, and by doing this Watson Allpress is making the play stick in the mind of the viewer.

The tech side of the show felt neglected. Set and costume did instantly conjure up the image of a mid-twenty-year-old still living at home, but not much beyond that. Occasionally the lighting and sound slid into instructiveness and told the audience what to think, which was a shame.

It’s undoubtedly very on the nose, but I cannot blame the team behind this. This show is a whole-hearted refusal to indulge the selfish conventions of surviving abuse and drives the audience to ask questions which perhaps push us to dismantle some of the patriarchal structures of thought which facilitate abuse.

3 Star Review

Review by Tom Carter

Patricia has spent a year crafting a kick-ass speech for her ex while recovering from his abuse. But when she unexpectedly bumps into him on the street, she somehow agrees to dinner with him that night leaving her with some big decisions to make; what to wear? What to say? And whether or not to go?

Get ready with Patricia for a hilariously honest but delicate hour as she revisits her past, how it has affected her present, and looks honestly at her future.

The inaugural recipient of the Charlie Hartill Development Fund for Artists of Colour

Produced by Nur Khairiyah
Written by Martha Watson Allpress
Directed by Kaleya Baxe
Performed by Angelina Chudi
Production Manager & Lighting Design by Steven Frost
Sound Design by Beth Duke
Set & Costume Design by Ella Clarke

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

11th Aug 2021 – 13th Aug 2021
Main House Cabaret – Pleasance London
https://www.pleasance.co.uk/

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