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Review: Ruckus at the Harlow Playhouse

Entertainment / Sun 24th Mar 2024 at 09:29am

By Alice Read

RECENTLY, I had the opportunity to attend the one-woman play, “Ruckus,” at the Harlow Playhouse. This gripping play, both written and performed by Jenna Fincken, dives into the unsettling reality of coercive control within a relationship.

The play begins with Lou, the protagonist, portrayed as a fiercely independent woman who meets Ryan. 

Ryan is initially introduced as the perfect man, creating an illusion of the ideal couple. However, as the story progresses, it becomes evident that Ryan’s actions are the bare minimum, mere decency, slowly hinting towards controlling and manipulative patterns.

I believe this play is exceptional. Jenna Fincken’s ability to captivate the audience with the unravelling drama is brilliant. The clever use of lighting enhances the dramatic impact and mirrors the mood. For instance, the shift to red light during Ryan’s subtly coercive behaviour is a subtle indicator of his bad nature. I enjoyed the play’s subtle messages and symbols, like Ryan’s animal farm game for Lou, tracking apps “to know when to start dinner” and Lou’s conversation with a student that mimics Ryan’s behaviour. These details made the play more engaging.

The central visual element of the entire show is the countdown, making the entire performance suspenseful, you have no idea what the countdown is, so you are left questioning until there is a shocking reveal! Without spoiling anything, I strongly recommend you watch this play for yourself.

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