Amy Lee Lavoie
The White Bear Theatre
Angie is clearly annoyed. She’s in bed looking angrily in the direction of the shower room from which we hear the calm friendly voice of Reed, the man she has spent the night with, in Amy Lee Lavoie’s intense, well-performed play about what counts as sexual consent between two people who at some point have admitted a sexual interest in each other.
Reed, who is chatting amiably as he prepares to leave Angie’s flat and return home to his wife, seems initially unaware that Angie (Rafaela Elliston) is upset. Genially, he suggests they meet up again on Wednesday and is about to depart when she says, “you assaulted me.”
Although he wants to go home given he is getting phone calls from his wife and it’s his turn to walk the family dog, Reed (Robbie Martin) tries to engage with Angie’s very different view of their night together.
They argue about his disregard of contraception and whether he got her so drunk she wasn’t in a fit state to decide if she wanted a sexual encounter.
He tells her it is unrealistic for them “to have an exhausting monologue before every act of intimacy,” insisting she “was wet” and clearly enjoyed the first thing they did. She points out that she’s “not the first woman to fake it to get you out of here.”
During the first half of the play, Reed is not only calmly responsive to Angie’s anger, he doesn’t even deny the truth of her accusation that she woke up to find him inside her. She claims this is rape.
However, later in the discussion, he becomes more disturbing as he suggests maybe she is just suffering from depression or perhaps “could have had a flashback.” He also threatens her job and slyly mentions he may be able to report her to the police.
The play is realistic, thoughtful and important, particularly given the police recorded a record number of sexual offences for the year ending September 2022 in England and Wales. Considering how traumatic it is for someone to report an assault, it is not surprising that this is estimated to be only 20% of the actual number that takes place. Things need to change. Men’s behaviour certainly needs to be different.
Both Rape Crisis and the NHS web sites offer useful advice on how you can support someone who has suffered sexual assault.
Reviewer: Keith Mckenna