Many a soap opera has tried to portray coercive control and emotionally abusive relationships, with audiences usually watching this play out over many episodes for weeks on end. Yet rarely is there an account as raw and honest as Ruckus gives, and it’s a testament to the writing of Jenna Fincken that we see every element distinctly played out in just an hour.

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.  

Rating: 5 out of 5.

{🎟 AD – PR invite – Tickets were gifted in exchange for an honest review}

2 Star Review 3 Star Review 4 Star Review 5 Star Review 2022 2023 Adaptation Almeida Cabaret Camden Fringe Cast Announcement Christmas Comedy Dance Drag Edinburgh Fringe Edinburgh Fringe Interviews Fringe Immersive Interviews Jukebox Musical LGBTQIA+ Lyric Hammersmith Manchester Musical New Musical News New Wimbledon Theatre North West Off West End Park Theatre Play Review Revival Richmond Theatre Round Up Royal Court Theatre Shakespeare Show Announcement Show Recommendations Soho Theatre Southwark Playhouse Touring Production VAULT Festival West End

    The infamous Sh!t Faced Showtime are back in London with a festive edition, they have taken Dickens’ classic and put a drunken spin on it. The formula is the same as other iterations of the Shi!t Faced shows, one member of the cast has been boozing, and this time it is John Milton who plays Scrooge. Before the show, half a bottle of Jim Beam, some wine, and beer have been consumed in the previous 4 hours. The rest of the cast, try to keep the show on track, also aided by James Murfitt as the compere, Charles Dickens. The … More A PISSEDMAS CAROL – REVIEW – LEICESTER SQUARE
    Spine-tingling yet heart-warming, Mark Gatiss’s retelling of A Christmas Carol truly encapsulates the haunting atmosphere of a Victorian ghost story, balanced out with enough humour so as to capture the festive season. Led by Keith Allen as Scrooge, with Peter Forbes as Marley, this show is perfect for Christmas viewing. The set design by Paul Wills is instantly captivating, containing stacks of metal cabinets towering over the theatre, moveable by the cast to allow space for other central props like doors, beds and tables. In addition to this, the puppetry design by Matthew Forbes is incredibly clever, adding creepy elements to the show such … More A CHRISTMAS CAROL – REVIEW – ALEXANDRA PALACE
    The title of this winner of Theatre 503’s 2023 International Playwriting Award by Roxy Cook may seem like the set-up to a joke, but the narrative that unspools is instead an affectionate, gently barbed and at base quite sobering portrait of three ordinary souls (and one restless feline) adrift in modern Moscow. There is much affable, satirical back-and-forth commentary on the accepted myths & stereotypes of the Russian spirit & soul. Beset by the indignities of age, opportunism, graft, fatigue, the characters orbit one another, doomed to play out their roles in an unjust, predatory and saturnine universe. The play opens … More A WOMAN WALKS INTO A BANK – REVIEW – THEATRE503
    Peter Pan Goes Wrong first premiered in London at the Pleasance Theatre in 2013, and earlier this year the show made its Broadway debut. Now the production is back in the West End for the Christmas season. Following on from The Play That Goes Wrong, in this production, J.M. Barrie’s Peter Pan is staged by the fictitious Cornley Polytechnic Drama Society and goes awry, disastrously so. The meta-comedy is filled with slapstick comedy, sometimes the humour may be predictable and silly, but it’s universally funny throughout – there is something for everyone here, and the laughs come thick and fast … More PETER PAN GOES WRONG – REVIEW – LYRIC THEATRE
    Drawing heavily from the classic canon of the British supernatural, HighTide’s trio of contemporary Gothic narratives uses traditional storytelling formats to address contemporary themes. Directed by Elayce Ismail, reverent musical interludes accompany tales of apparitions and nighttime conjurings that speak of women from the East of England. Unfortunately, the effect is less chilling and more lightweight, with conventional structures, predictable plot twists and an over-reliance on external forces to drive narrative shoring up some of the less relatable aspects of the genre. Nicola Werenowska’s The Beach House, perhaps the cleanest of the three tales, tells of a mother and daughter’s … More GHOST STORIES BY CANDLELIGHT – REVIEW – SAM WANAMAKER PLAYHOUSE

Leave a Reply