Endless Second

This innovative piece by Cut The Chord Theatre is a fresh perspective on sexual violence, consent and how to open conversations that empower both men and women. We are introduced to the protagonists, played by writer Theo Toksvig-Stewart and co-star Maddie Gray, as they meet on their first day of University. Sparks fly, connections are made, and over the coming months they enjoy a committed relationship involving meeting parents, shared friendships and a deep love, respect and intimacy. All seems well, until one drunken evening, as they have a hundred times before, he initiates sex. Only this time, she says no – and he doesn’t stop.

It smashes all stereotypes about rape and sexual violence

Endless Second refers to her mindset as he rapes her, a second that feels like a minute, that feels like an hour, like a day, infinite, like it’s forever. What’s so special about this performance is that (a) it’s by a male writer; (b) it’s narrated from his perspective as well as hers which is incredibly rare; and (c) it features a breach of consent within a loving relationship. It smashes all stereotypes about rape and sexual violence, and is particularly relevant in the aftermath of the #metoo movement. Directed by Camilla Gürtler, Endless Second is a lesson in accountability; of how to open conversations about consent which allow both men and women to fully understand and respect each other.

The show challenges the preconceptions of the ‘nice guy’ - as Gray indignantly attests that ‘nice is the bear minimum of what you should be’. Respect is the measure of the standards we set for ourselves, and this is a message captured beautifully, profoundly and poignantly in this performance.

The techniques utilised in Endless Second are very clever. Both protagonists narrate the entire show from their own perspectives, which risks being annoying if done badly. Fortunately, Toksvig-Stewart and Gray execute this exceptionally, and as their pace and tempo changes throughout, adapting to the tone of what’s happening for the actors, it heightens the experience for the audience. We want to believe they can make it through this journey, but equally we understand that something so irretrievably awful has happened that it doesn’t seem possible. And that’s where the lightbulb moment hits. Love doesn’t conquer all. Sometimes you can break something so badly that only full accountability can even begin to extricate you from it.

Reviews by Jodie McVicar

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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.
Donate to Mama Biashara now

Theatre MAD
The Make A Difference Trust fights HIV & AIDS one stage at a time. Their UK and International grant-making strategy is based on five criteria that raise awareness, educate, and provide care and support for the most vulnerable in society. A host of fundraising events, including Bucket Collections, Late Night Cabarets, West End Eurovision, West End Bares and A West End Christmas continue to raise funds for projects both in the UK and Sub-Saharan Africa.
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The Blurb

A new play about consent within a relationship. A young couple at university have fallen in love. They listen to each other. They respect each other. But everything changes after a drunken evening with their friends. On this night, when he takes off her underwear and his boxers, she says, 'No'. But he doesn't stop. She struggles to assimilate the rape for what it was, because how could it be rape? He loves her. He couldn't have done that. Endless Second explores how two people deal with a trauma that fundamentally alters the nature of their relationship.

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