Green Door at Kings Arms
Made It Theatre (director Daniel Brennan)
The Kings Arms, Salford
Writer/performer Ann Brown has a story to tell. Her story. As we take our seats she’s already front and centre, waiting for us with a big, welcoming smile. It’s a subtle nod to the fact that even the most outgoing, seemingly confident person can go through the trauma that unfolds in ‘Green Door’.
Events begin during a stressful family holiday with Brown, her two kids and her parents (her father living with Alzheimer’s). Light relief is found in the company a charming resort barman with shiny shoes - a sign that you’ve found a good one according to her mother.
The burgeoning relationship is portrayed with humour as Brown joyously describes the thrill of new love whilst dancing to Shakin’ Stevens (the title of the play a nod to one of Shaky’s hits). This provides a light tone while, at the same time, allows the audience to appreciate that you can’t always see what’s coming. A sense of foreboding is never far away and when her partner eventually becomes violent there’s no way to soften the many blows. The sense of isolation, exacerbated by the loss of her father, is clearly defined throughout the monologue.
The raw, honesty of the Brown’s delivery is startling. Under Daniel Brennan’s direction, it never becomes self indulgent. At no point does she offer a reason or excuses for the nightmare she experienced. Most importantly, Brown manages to present her story of domestic abuse from the perspective of a survivor, not a victim. This is key to the effectiveness of ‘Green Door’ which is ultimately a piece about self-worth and how you can come out the other end stronger.
At the after show discussion, talk of filming the piece to show in schools indicates that Brown’s courage could also go on to play a significant part in education and prevention. I strongly suspect ‘Green Door’ will be back before too long and even more strongly advise people to attend.
Drew Tosh for Canal St Online
Green Door can next be seen at Square Chapel Arts Centre, Halifax.
7.45pm, Thursday 2 April 2020
Published: 10-Feb-2020 (5760)