Home » London Theatre Reviews » Ruckus by Jenna Fincken at Southwark Playhouse

Ruckus by Jenna Fincken at Southwark Playhouse

Ruckus is a powerful, thrilling, exciting, fast-moving, 65-minute play written and performed by Jenna Fincken.

Ruckus - Ali Wright.
Ruckus – Ali Wright.

In this play, we see how what started as a loving relationship can sometimes be anything but. Ruckus explores coercive control, an issue not widely recognised, yet its side effects kill up to three women every week in the UK. We are told that each moment of the play has been inspired, if that is the word, by real women and real situations.

Fincken has clearly researched thoroughly, but the play is the reverse of academic, being totally believable and hard-hitting, as well as being at times very amusing and at others very dark. She is a very physical actor, using her whole body, especially her arms, hands and face frenetically and with great imagination. She has been helped here by movement director Christina Fulcher.

The audience is very quickly drawn into Jenna Fincken’s world and the 65 minutes pass very quickly – my colleague said immediately afterwards that she felt “shell-shocked” because it was so involving: “the actor had so much energy from start to finish”.

The director of this superb piece of theatre is Georgia Green, ensuring that the audience is occasionally given some respite from the coercive spiral which is the plot, and that the acting area, imaginatively designed (Miranda Keeble), is fully used so that the audience, sitting in an ‘L’ shape always feels involved. Simeon Miller has designed projections that help those watching immediately jump from scene to scene in time.

Ryan (Matthew Durkan), the only other character in the play, is made much stronger as a role by never being seen – he is just a voice, allowing us to fully use our imaginations, as in a radio play.

Jenna Fincken wears a radio mike which hardly seems necessary in the intimate space of Southwark’s smaller auditorium, especially as this means that occasionally this gives an echo effect which makes what the actor is saying difficult to hear clearly.

All in all, though, this is a superb evening of theatre, giving much food for thought as well as admiration for the playwright/actor’s skills. It deserves full houses for the entire run! Very highly recommended!

5 Star Rating

Review by John Groves

In this one-woman thriller, we see how a loving relationship can sometimes be anything but. Ruckus explores coercive control, an issue not widely recognised and yet its side effects kill up to three women every week in the UK. Each moment of the play has been inspired by real women and real stories.

Through a visceral sound design, Ruckus will send a shiver down your spine and make you more conscious of the suppression caused by coercive control.

Presented by the award-winning Wildcard.

Recommended for ages 16+.

Creative Team
Writer/Performer Jenna Fincken
Director Georgia Green
Producer Joey Dawson
Associate Producer Rachel Thomas
Sound Designer Tingying Dong
Movement Director Christina Fulcher
Lighting and Projection Designer Simeon Miller
Video Designer Reuben Cohen
Set Designer Miranda Keeble
Production Manager Charlotte Ranson
Stage Manager Becky Thornton

Jenna Fincken
Matthew Durkan (Voice Over)

5 – 29 OCT 2022

Related News & Reviews Past & Present


  • John Groves

    John Groves studied singing with Robert Easton and conducting with Clive Timms. He was lucky enough to act in the British premiere of a Strindberg play at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe more years ago than he cares to remember, as well as singing at the Royal Opera House - once! He taught drama and music at several schools, as well as examining the practical aspects of GCSE and A level drama for many years. For twenty five years he has conducted a brass band as well as living on one of the highest points of East Sussex surrounded by woodland, deer, foxes and badgers, with kites and buzzards flying overhead.

    View all posts
Scroll to Top