By Emma Ford
I have never known a theatre performance that could ruin so many childhood songs. Punchline, performed by Lara Mountain, Pau Placek, Sas Bond, Guy Mcallum and Honor Roberts, was a truly haunting story exploring the horrors of domestic abuse. Their chosen practitioner Berkoff really stood out as they communicated a lot of their messages through grotesque, heightened movements and the use of dark comedy was shocking for the audience. For me the dark comedy which was often shown through Guy’s character in the Punch and Judy section really highlighted the tragedy of domestic abuse because men involved in domestic violence don’t realise how serious it is and aren’t even aware of the emotional impact of their actions. The unity of the girls in this piece was very powerful as they represented the masses of women who suffer from domestic abuse and the sadness that in reality these women are isolated. It was especially noticeable during their freeze frames that the girls were clinging to one another to try and support whoever was being hurt but due to their level in comparison to Guy they were powerless. Another element of Berkoff which really enhanced their performance was the lack of scenery, the symbolic doors showed a hidden private life of abuse and also demonstrated how a place that should be a safe space becomes a nightmare. Overall this was a very haunting piece depicting a serious issue that highlighted societies blissful ignorance of what happens behind closed doors. The group should be proud of such a mesmerising performance that had the power to shock the audience into silence and amazement.