Padded Cell Theatre Company
Written and Directed by Scott Morgan
Unity Theatre
22nd-23rd June 2006

Reviewed by Helen Grey

‘Damaged’ is an emotive play that follows the lives of two women who have been trafficked into the country and forced into prostitution. Anya (Helena Rand) and Violet (Constance Oak) believe they are being brought to the UK to work as nannies, but no sooner do they arrive in the country, than they are deposited in a dingy room and told they must sleep with men in order to repay the dept they owe to the traffickers.

The disorientating and confusing lives the women live as they are moved from house to house and city to city is reflected in the creative use of scenes and lighting. Many of the scenes are incredibly short and use little light, which shows the audience only snapshots of the girls' harrowing lives. The situations they are in are not always conveniently explained, ensuring the audience thinks carefully about what they are watching. Much of the abuse is not shown and happens off stage with only the sounds filtering through to the auditorium. This once again engages with the imagination and enables the director to ensure his message is deeply embedded in audience consciousness.

This play is grim watching. The two leading actresses give strong performances of women deeply unhappy and trapped in a situation in which they have no power to escape from. Though it is uncomfortable to watch, it is necessary to show that these atrocities are happening not just in the wider world, but in our own country.

To read an interview with the play’s writer and director Scott Morgan about the rise of modern day slavery click here

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