In Katie Mitchell’s urgent, compelling production of it, this monologue is voiced by four performers, each standing in front of a mic, addressing the audience directly. Embedded in her mind from the moment she wakes up, we travel with the story’s heroine as she goes about a mundane but familiar routine: brushing her teeth, commuting on the train, arriving at her ‘dreaded desk’ and exchanging vague niceties with her colleagues. We’re privy to the collision of thoughts in her head and the emotions they inspire: a text from her mother provokes some guilt, thoughts of her boyfriend spark her sex drive and it soon becomes clear that being in her workplace makes her incredibly anxious.
Little Scratch. Eve Ponsonby, Eleanor Henderson & Rebekah Murrell. Photo: Ellie Kurttz
In time we learn, as memories of it surface and resurface throughout the day, that she was raped by a senior colleague at an after-work drinks event. It’s an act of violence that has left her with an obsessive compulsion to scratch behind her legs – and so far, she’s hidden both the rape and the scratching from her boyfriend. He’s her rock and safe place, and the tender scene in which she relaxes into his company after work is a powerful juxtaposition to the tension that accompanies her moving about her workplace, feeling like stalked prey.
It’s a fast-paced narrative that leaves sentences half said as it bounces between thoughts all competing for attention. One small slip-up could threaten to derail its delivery, but Eleanor Henderson, Eve Ponsonby, Ragevan Vasan and newcomer Rebekah Murrell are an impressively tight chorus who seem to have every beat of the show ingrained. Between them, they voice our heroine’s every thought and spoken word, as well as those spoken to her, and create the sounds she hears during the day – swilling water or scratching a brush.
Little Scratch is never trauma porn. Its abstract delivery prevents the audience from becoming too emotionally invested in the story’s darkness, leaving us instead with more general thoughts of the many women who have experienced sexual harassment in the workplace and suffered the repercussions in silence.
|What||Little Scratch, New Diorama review|
|Where||New Diorama Theatre, 15-16 Triton Street, Regent's Place, London, NW1 3BF | MAP|
|Nearest tube||Warren Street (underground)|
12 Apr 23 – 13 May 23, 7:30 PM – 9:00 PM
|Website||Click here for more information and to book|