When Patricia runs into her abusive ex-boyfriend, and naively accepts an invitation to dinner, we are invited on her journey of grief, trauma, acceptance and recovery as she gets ready and prepares herself for the night ahead. What is a difficult and heavy-seeming subject is handled with a truly remarkable sense of heart, humour and honesty in Patricia Gets Ready (for a date with the man that used to hit her), which runs from Tuesday 17th to Sunday 29th August at Pleasance @ IECC.
There is very little to take issue with in this entire production. The trifecta of the razor-sharp script, the intimate and effective direction and the spellbinding performance produces this brilliant monologue, overflowing with humour and wit, while also pulling very few punches emotionally, but with a distinct hypnotic poeticism that enraptures the audience for the full hour.
Martha Watson Allpress’ script is nothing short of genius, a diverse and intricate exploration of its character and her trauma and experiences. Its emotional highs are hilarious and heartwarming, while its lows are heart wrenching yet tender and empathetic, with a deep understanding of its subject matter, never sacrificing the integrity of the character for cheap dramatic conventions.
The script offers an entirely unique and human perspective on themes of domestic violence and the trauma that comes with this. This coupled with Kaleya Baxe’s direction really transports the audience into Patricia’s room as she talks to us, as if we’re old friends. The intimacy and honest atmosphere that they create is unlike anything I’ve experienced in theatre in a very long time.
Angelina Chudi’s performance is phenomenal. A truly comprehensive understanding of the character and her story, that I was convinced that they must have also been the writer, to embody Patricia’s words so effortlessly. Her physical comedy to her facial expressions to her final monologue is an utter joy to watch as she holds the audience in the palm of her hand. Chudi’s portrayal of Patricia is irresistibly likeable from the first minute of the show, seeming relatable and charming immediately. Both the character and the story offer so many moments of relatability and engagement, as well as feelings of support and solidarity from the comfort of the script.
Patricia Gets Ready is, so far, the show of this year’s festival, for me. A monologue bursting with talent from every direction, as well as intelligence and empathy, but also a truly unifying experience for the audience. A reminder of how much truly impactful theatre has been missed, and an indication of just how brilliant it can be.