In Walk of Shame, we meet Alice (Stephanie Silver) who, we quickly learn is trapped in an abusive relationship, controlled by a boyfriend who claims he loves her. The reality she describes gives quite a different view, and matters come to a head when she walks out with the intention of finding a man for casual sex.
It’s a familiar story, which plays out in a mainly monologue form with both Alice, and Liam, the “gentleman” who picks her up, wasted and vulnerable, in a bar, being written as complex yet inevitably drawn into this toxic situation.
Silver, who also co-wrote this play with Amelia Lovsey, brings Alice to life with strength and conviction. She’s confident on the surface but torn apart inside, her self-worth ground down, her eyes glassy.
In seeking a quick fix to her home nightmare, she seeks to make a snap decision, and, fuelled by the single vodka shot her overdraft allows, plus drinks plied upon her by the man who “knows she’s dirty”, that quickly leads to a situation she cannot control.
As Liam, Sam Landon perceptively explores the male perspective by claiming “women always regret it” and that he just treats them as his mum advised. He fails to comprehend his own mistakes (it is implied he regularly seeks out a certain type of woman for sex) or behaviour.
This is digital theatre in the raw, which director Michelle Payne presents through quick cut close-ups, distortions, and confessional pieces to camera. This approach cuts out any location shooting and instead keeps our focus on the story as it unfolds.
Walk of Shame doesn’t take sides, but does not shrink from presenting the issues of psychological abuse, sexual consent, or addiction in the starkest form. It leaves the viewer with much to think about.
This play is currently available as part of the 2nd season of Online@TheSpace. The fifty shows in the series are free to watch: for more information go here.