Laura Desmond has survived the kind of experiences that one imagines most people would not be inclined to share with a theatre-going public – but if by staging a show like Socially [Un]acceptable, a talented performer can start useful conversations, and cause some of us to gain a much-needed change in perspective on the subject of sexual assault and its prevalence in our culture, she deserves our congratulations and encouragement.
Desmond’s writing is very smart in its ability to involve us, and merciless in its potential for confronting us. Her generally amiable, outgoing persona in this show is an effectively chilling contrast to its content. She demonstrates an impressive vocal ability, and a knack for deconstructing musical lyrics to reveal the darkness and rot that can be hidden inside.
The emotional and physical complexities of so many assault situations are sharply conveyed, and by the time of hearing about a fourth such incident in less than an hour of show time, one’s feelings are likely to be left truly tangled and troubled. There are no easy or fast answers here – but there may be solutions, as long as we have people like Laura Desmond who are willing to share their stories with us.
If you seek an experience at the Adelaide Fringe to make you think about important issues, walk in someone else’s shoes, and question whether your own attitudes can be improved for the better, then Socially [Un]acceptable is one to see.
Photographer: Stephanie Mitchell