WORDS WEEKEND REVIEW: Rattle Snake @ Sage Gateshead (08.12.19) | NARC. | Reliably Informed | Music and Creative Arts News for Newcastle and the North East

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Image by Keith Pattison

Rattle Snake has been around for a while. Conceived over five years ago in conjunction with Durham PCC and created as a co-production between Open Clasp and Live Theatre, Rattle Snake has been used in training over 1500 police officers in the region, toured nationally as a live play to critical acclaim and is now captured as a film.

It’s the film that we’re here to see. We know it’s going to be a tough watch. We know it’s about coercive control. But we trust that co-founder and writer Katrina McHugh and her team at Open Clasp will present truth. They always do.

The screen inevitably brings one level of separation but offers the audience close ups and angles of vision that a live play could not. Nothing is lost. The agony on all levels is displayed in plain sight by actors Eilidh Talman and Christina Berriman Dawson. They’re watching the film with us, uniting with us in anger and sorrow that the many women that inspired this show are still living under the terrifying grip of coercive control.

The rhythms of the script, the use of intonation, the unison passages, the physical use of the space inside and outside the box and the wholly believable emotional range of these incredible actors have created an insight into coercive control that is changing hearts and minds of not just audiences, but of those in positions of power to make a difference. A fitting end to the Words Weekend, where the theme I’ve picked up is that words are changing the world, one story at a time.

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