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

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

As womxn are becoming more open about their stories of assault and abuse, Patricia Gets Ready feels more timely than ever: the story of a young woman who bumps into her abusive ex-boyfriend and then agrees to meet him for dinner.

As this is a solo piece, Angelina Chudi (Patricia) has to command the stage, and that she does. With no props or set, it is purely Chudi on stage for the hour long piece. Despite speaking with her mum and her abuser, we never hear their voices. Also, the abuser is never given a name meaning his identity is given less prominence than Patricia’s.Director Kaleya Baxe’s conscious decision to have only Patricia as the focus means that nothing takes away from her nor her story, with the movement by Chudi as she mimes putting on her outfit and makeup being simplistically beautiful.

What is great about Patricia Gets Ready is that as a character Patricia moves away from any victim stereotypes; which she addresses in the final empowering ‘The Battered Woman’ monologue scene. Patricia is relatable, and as the play isn’t visually graphic, it makes playwright Martha Watson Allpress’ colloquial tone gain even more weight. Chudi plays Patricia as someone with an upbeat sensibility, (and there are some laugh out loud moments to juxtapose with the pathos), meaning that despite the subject matter, her final speeches of rage towards the abuser mean you leave with a sense of empowerment.

Patricia Gets Ready is an interesting work in progress, and it will be intriguing to see how this continues to evolve and grow. An important watch, but please head the trigger warnings.

Niamh Flynn

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