Brave Face
  • By Elaine C
  • |
  • 26th Aug 2021
  • |
  • ★★★★★

Hoo Hah House's production Brave Face is by far the bravest and powerful production I have seen at the Fringe this year. With nudity and violent themes from the start it is an adrenaline fuelled hard hitting black comedy straight from the offset.

Adrenaline fuelled hard hitting black comedy straight from the offset.

Written and performed by Everleigh Brenner her attention to the emotions evoked around sexual abuse is incredible, emotive, and uncomfortable. From the unconventional relationship that Em has with Connor, the narcissistic on/off cheating boyfriend whose violent bedroom behaviour leaves the audience under no doubt that it's non-consensual and lacks caring, to the ex appearing back on the scene seven years after he first raped Em, we wonder why he hasn't learned what the word “no” means yet!

Brenner’s writing has bought to the forefront one of the effects that can be bought on by trauma, which is often unnoticed and unspoken about, where an abused victim can turn into an abuser to rebalance the equilibrium and take back a level of the power and humanity that has been “raped” from them.

A QR code is available as you leave the performance. Brenner explains that it has information and helpline links on it. I forgot to scan it personally and cannot say exactly what it contains. This shows a very responsible and mature approach to the production by helping or educating anyone further who might have been affected by themes raised in Brave Face.

National statistics taken from the government website report that one in five women have reported to have experienced some form of sexual assault. However, I believe that this percentage to be much higher as many crimes still go unreported. With a 37% prosecution rate for female victims of rape the justice system has a long way to go before it brings satisfactory justice to “all” victims.

For a large majority of those who will go to watch Brave Face it will leave you with uncomfortable feelings as you walk away from the performance. It is exactly what you should be feeling as sexual assault and violence is an uncomfortable and harrowing experience for the countless victims who have been subjected to these horrific crimes.

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Reviews by Elaine C

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★★★★★
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Since you’re here…

… we have a small favour to ask. We don't want your money to support a hack's bar bill at Abattoir, but if you have a pound or two spare, we really encourage you to support a good cause. If this review has either helped you discover a gem or avoid a turkey, consider doing some good that will really make a difference.

You can donate to the charity of your choice, but if you're looking for inspiration, there are three charities we really like.

Mama Biashara
Kate Copstick’s charity, Mama Biashara, works with the poorest and most marginalised people in Kenya. They give grants to set up small, sustainable businesses that bring financial independence and security. That five quid you spend on a large glass of House White? They can save someone’s life with that. And the money for a pair of Air Jordans? Will take four women and their fifteen children away from a man who is raping them and into a new life with a moneymaking business for Mum and happiness for the kids.
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Performances

Location

The Blurb

How many times can a woman be objectified before deciding she’s more human than that? More angry than that… more vengeful than that... And how on this patriarchal earth is she gonna make this bullsh*t fair? Em has had her womanhood threatened one too many times, and when her “boyfriend” breaks her heart, she becomes a woman the world fears, who lies, blackmails and gets what she wants. But when her past catches up with her present, we question: is this what she deserves? Brave Face is a pitch-black comedy about sex, trauma and the female experience.

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