Ruckus is a fast-paced, heart-racing one person show that utilizes claustrophobic sound design, sinister dialogue and human psychology to establish an utterly chilling atmosphere within Summerhall’s Cairns Lecture Theatre, as well as an intimate connection between audience and performer, running until the 28th of August at 15:30pm.
Jenna Fincken’s script is almost nauseating in its growing tension, and I mean that in the most complimentary of ways. What starts off as a charming story of two people falling in love rapidly deteriorates into an emotionally abusive relationship that renders our protagonist feeling helpless and trapped, and leaves us as an audience wishing we could do anything to help her, which is what makes the question of ‘where does abuse start?’ so prevalent and hard to watch be explored onstage.
Fincken’s dialogue is only enhanced by her dynamic and heart-wrenching performance, a definitive portrayal of equal parts love and fear. Fincken’s performance as Louise is immediately likable and a joy to watch, effectively ensuring that the growing worry the audience feels for her is all the more intense.
Fincken’s writing and performance discusses coercive control in relationships with a refreshing candour and empathy that has not been seen in many pieces of theatre before. Matthew Durkan’s voice acting as the character of Ryan is also an effective touch to building an element of the story that is completely out of Louise’s control. Durkan’s performance is sinister and intimate, as if he is breathing down the audience and protagonist’s collective neck.
Georgia Green’s direction of Ruckus (coupled with Christina Fulcher’s movement direction) is a slick and striking machine, the character of Louise being thrown around by her own story and inner conflict, constantly being frightened by and doubting what’s happening around her. Tingying Dong’s sound design is spine-tingling, a mesmeric and daunting soundscape that engulfs the audience in a way that the themes and plot of Ruckus engulf it’s protagonist.
Ruckus is a stunning production, a refreshing examination of less-explored avenues of domestic violence informed by urgent direction and a breathtaking performance.