Fringe Review: Socially [un]acceptable

Laura Desmond bravely details five very personal accounts of sexual assault that she experienced through her university years and while attending festivals.

By
Keeping the conversation going about sexual assault
Overall
3

Reviewed at Gluttony on 16 February 2019

Presented by Big Mood

Making the unacceptable, acceptable is the theme of this show’s title – not the actions of sexual assault but the need for men and women to rise up against it – to discuss it without shame, to call out bad behaviour, and to honour the rights of everyone to say “no”.

Laura Desmond bravely details five very personal accounts of sexual assault that she experienced through her university years and while attending festivals. In doing so, she not only describes each distressing event, but uses these vignettes to raise awareness about sexual assault and the different forms it can take.

Despite needing two prompts during her 50-minute monologue, Desmond is engaging and emotive. Each of her reminiscences remains focused on the individual perpetrator – a friend, a boyfriend, a colleague… She tackles issues of respect, safety, self-blaming, love and the rights of individuals, without ever resorting to preachiness or gender bashing. This makes what she has to say more universal. Interestingly, she performed to a mostly male audience on opening night, each who seemed visibly affected by the end.

The content of Socially [un]acceptable is powerful and the language is often explicit, but Desmond wisely avoids detailing every minute detail of the assaults against her. She has found the right balance between what needs to be said and what can remain implied. The timeliness of her show couldn’t be better, particularly in light of recent high-profile cases against individuals for sexual assault. Desmond helps us understand the issue while also enlightening us on the longer-term effects that sexual assault can cause.

Reviewed by Rod Lewis
Twitter: @StrtegicRetweet

Venue:  The Bally at Gluttony, Rymill Park/Mullawirraburka, East Terrace, Adelaide
Season:  15 Feburary – 3 March 2019
Duration:  50 minutes
Tickets:  $18-$25

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