Lost in Theatreland

Ruckus follows Lou, a bubbly sarcastic primary school teacher, that falls for Ryan. And in just an hour we watch as she is cut off from loved ones and broken down so much that she then goes along with what Ryan wants to make life easier. We see that she is scared and anxious of his reaction if things are not how he likes them.

The set is simple, with a white platform and a screen, which has a video projection by Simeon Miller on it. This projection is a countdown timer and states how many days to go, which immediately builds intensity and intrigue.

Ruckus is a one-woman performance, with Fincken creating multiple distinctly different characters within the show – such as Whinny Bryony and Bride to Be Jess. Ryan is a voiceover, by Matthew Durkan. Having Ryan as a voiceover works well as whilst we get to hear the abuse, we don’t lose focus on Lou for a second. We get to fully explore the character of Lou, without another actor on stage, which would detract from this – and it’s Lou’s story, it’s essential we focus on her.

If you watch closely enough all the red flags are there from the beginning of Lou and Ryan meeting, Fincken has created this intricate web of elements which together add up to coercive control. The most heart-breaking line within the performance is when Lou has her moment of clarity over what is occurring, and she states, “I’m trained in my job to look out for this exact situation”.

Fincken gives a masterclass performance. She is simultaneously hilarious and gut wrenching. She made me want to both laugh and cry. To take an audience on this emotional rollercoaster in just an hour is remarkable. Fincken’s script is incredibly well written, to provide so many laughs whilst tackling such a serious topic is no mean feat, and I commend her for this.

Ruckus will provoke thought and stick with you long after you’ve left the lecture theatre. This is such an important play for everyone to see, you will not find a more authentic and honest account of emotional abuse – and it was delightful to see so many male audience members.