A final year student from Newcastle University has written a great review of Rattle Snake following a screening at The Sage, Gateshead as part of Words Weekend. Please read and share. We are always looking for young people to engage with and review our work. If you are 25 or younger and would like to submit a review, please email info@openclasp.org.uk

As someone who has no personal experience of coercive control, I didn’t know what to expect when watching Rattle Snake. My only prior exposure to the subject has been through books and TV programmes.

As a theatrical production I thought Rattle Snake was excellent. It was emotive, hard-hitting, and realistic. The choreography in the opening sequence was slick and powerful. It highlighted not only the constant pressure faced by women in coercive relationships, but also their inability to relax and the need to be alert all the time- it must be truly exhaustive. Similarly, I thought the boxing choreography during the family court scene was fantastic, and by giving the audience that visual aid it made the scene more compelling.

I personally find that I tend to be extremely sensitive to audio when watching film and live performance. Both the music and the sound effects used in Rattle Snake worked perfectly to create a sense of tension that built throughout the production. I felt completely on edge whilst watching, and actually noticed afterwards that I had bitten my nails off (something I only do when I am anxious.) It took me some time afterwards to feel ‘normal’ again which raised lots of questions in my mind such as what is it like to constantly live in fear?  Or to have no control over your life? What is it like to feel there is no way out?

I thought that both actors were fantastic and extremely convincing as their characters. They seamlessly switched between roles and gave a strong performance throughout. The dialogue is very well written, fast paced and energetic- yet easy to follow.  Suzy and Jen were portrayed not only as 2 dimensional victims, but as real and complex women caught in a terrible situation.

Rattle Snake tackles a painful subject with sensitivity and understanding. It is both revealing and informative, allowing a glimpse into a life which is usually restricted to behind closed doors. I would encourage everyone to watch Rattle Snake. It explores a universally applicable subject that desperately needs more attention. The more awareness that can be raised, the more potential for lives to be saved.

If you have experienced coercive control and feel like your voice hasn’t been heard, you can submit your story to us anonymously via our #ThisIsCoerciveControl site.