Katie Rice and Ellen Patterson are two performers on a mission to highlight how womxn are portrayed in today's world, as well as specifically within the political environment. Words Without Consent is a well-written play that aims to further this mission by comparing two women getting ready to go out against a political debate that looks like it will spiral out of control.
Straight talking, yet uplifting
Words Without Consent draws on real life events, including those depicted in the media, as well as stories from real women that had been swept under the carpet and seemingly forgotten about. This approach meant that the play dared to explore topics that tend to not often be explored on stage in such an open and honest way, such as dating, unethical work behaviour, inappropriate comments from men, and rape. Whilst some of these topics may have been upsetting for some watching, the way the two womxn wrote about them was handled with extreme sensitivity.
What particularly worked well was the way Rice and Patterson seamlessly integrated the two worlds of media and real life. This meant that we could see the reality of what can happen in a political campaign both in front and behind the camera, as well as what can happen in real time. Although the two worlds were different, everything the girls getting ready talked about were also hinted at in the political debate. For instance, the idea of women not being able to dress for the workplace or a night out without being targeted sexually. Rice and Patterson also explored the idea of what would happen if this was actually talked about openly and freely, with no holding back. By doing this, they enabled us to think more about what we could do in a small way to aid the rights of women in the workplace, home and life, as well as get emotionally on board with the characters as they evolved.
2Gal Theatre Company has created a strong play in Words Without Consent based on its straight talking, yet uplifting approach, as well as extremely strong and well-rounded performances from Rice and Patterson. Their partnership on stage was engaging and interesting to watch as they went through their different roles and kept the energy high throughout. This world premiere of Words Without Consent was a hidden Brighton Fringe gem, which needs to be discovered and experienced. Hopefully audiences will flock to watch their upcoming tour.