October marks Domestic Violence Awareness month, a month aimed at supporting victims and educating people on the signs of domestic violence. Between April 2020 and February 2021, 13,162 people contacted the National Domestic Abuse Helpline, an increase of 5,000 from previous years. Exploring this further within their show Within These Four Walls, TV Productions present a necessary piece of theatre highlighting harmful patterns behaviour.
The production’s white pristine aesthetic immediately draws your eye to what lies ahead. An affluent setting, the show’s home decor, like the beginnings of Karen Martin (Vanessa Cruickshank) and Jonathan Felder’s (Kurtis Lowe) relationship, appear perfect. The cast’s costumes, block colours, stark in comparison to their blank, white backdrop, the production’s costume choice evocative of a game of Cluedo – giving the show a sinister undertone.
What Within These Four Walls does well at is highlighting the signs of domestic violence, Karen very slowly becoming a shadow of her former self as her partner gradually wears her down. Writer Cruickshank meticulously carving out the journey of both parties as we witness the beginnings of a seemingly happy relationship and very slowly watch the impact of domestic violence creep in. This is upsetting to watch, but an informative one. Director Atticus Orsborn necessarily highlighting the physical, mental and emotional aspects of domestic violence. Elizabeth Shaw, Peaches, Aniya Sek Kanu and Helena Huang all highlighting the realities of Karen’s life on the outside, an ensemble effort showcasing the ripple effect of domestic violence and how those around Karen react to it. We start to gain an idea of Karen’s upbringing and the issues that she has dealt with and continues to deal with. The show conscious of exploring mental states, and this is important. An informative evening raising awareness.
Review written by Lucy Basaba.
Within These Four Walls was shown from Friday 22nd until Sunday 24th October 2021 at the Questors Theatre. To find out more about the production, visit here…
For anyone impacted by the issues raised, or would like to find out more about the crucial work that Refuge do, visit here…
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