‘Woman Caught Unawares’ – a performance which invites us to both laugh and cry

Deborah Hadley draws the audience into the story of a professor of art history and her struggle as a photo of her in a changing room is shared online

The monologue is a powerful thing, and when done well it can be an exceptional piece of art. Fortunately, ‘Benny&Kate’ do it well. Annie Fox’s writing is full of gorgeous language, while Deborah Hadley’s performance draws the audience in, inviting us to both laugh and cry with her.

The story focuses on a professor of art history and her struggle, as a photo of her in a changing room is shared online. As the perspectives of older women are frequently ignored, this performance offers a unique insight into a voice often unheard. Nonetheless, the story can strike chords with us all, as it touches on love and loss.

References to art history are woven throughout, as the play is split into three parts, each titled with an Italian art term. This choice works particularly well when it is considered that the women featured in Renaissance paintings are so often passive, presenting the expectations for women in the real world. However, the protagonist of this performance does not remain passive, as she takes matters into her own hands.

This show is personal and yet somehow universal, as it touches on fears that we all have, of ageing and of losing those that we love.

Woman Caught Unaware has been received with open arms so far, so if you’re yet to see it, I recommend that you do.

By Seraphina Allard-Bridge

‘Woman Caught Unawares’ is on at the St Anne’s Arts Centre on Sunday at 7pm

Age 14+

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