Review – Socially (un)acceptable


Black Market Venues (PBH Free Fringe)

Socially (un)acceptable is a one-woman show from Adelaide’s Laura Desmond. The show is a personal one, dealing with her experiences of sexual assault, and as such should come with a trigger warning.

The show itself feels like a chat with a friend, it is familiar, and Desmond’s delivery is natural. There is no expensive tech – the show is reliant upon the dressing and undressing of Desmond as she talks us through different scenes, and different assaults. The minimalist setting works well within the rough and ready venue.

The story is engaging enough, but it’s the concept and the motivation behind that piece which exposes it’s true value. Desmond’s show is a reaction to the frequency of sexual assault within our society, and the way it is often dismissed, undermined or explained away. Through sharing her experiences, and the way that these assaults impacted upon her, Desmond is removing the excuse of ignorance, bringing the uncomfortable truths to a society which perpetuates these attitudes.

If you think these attitudes aren’t prevalent – I’m afraid I have some bad news. As soon as the applause began to wane a voice from the back shouted, in a manner familiar to anyone who has ever spoken up for women in a public forum,  ‘Can I ask you a question though – as a man …’ and so the familiar rhetoric of victim blaming began.

Sometimes it writes itself.

This narrative needs changing and these important conversations need to keep happening. Whilst as a piece of theatre, this isn’t perfect, I applaud Desmond for her bravery in fighting the fight, and hope audiences will leave with an altered perspective, and new angles to consider. I only hope the people who need to hear it are able to listen to learn, rather than to argue back.

Socially (un)acceptable is in Room 3 of the Black Market Venues, Market Street. As a free fringe show there are no pre-booked tickets. Catch it until 26th August 9:00pm every night (50 minute run time).


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