The phrase ‘Quiet Violence’ is one coined by writer and performer Sophie Rose to describe all those little things we do to ourselves to make our lives just that bit harder. We buy cheap toilet roll to save money, but then overspend in other areas of our life. We wear high heels despite the crippling pain because it might make boys fancy us more. We kiss people we don’t want to, to avoid telling them how we really feel.
“Why do I say yes to things I don’t want to?”
Quiet Violence tells the story of Sophie. She is a girl struggling to make decisions based on what she really wants, instead finding herself doing things for the approval of others. Even decisions she isn’t making, she feels guilty for not making. When watching the piece, you will undoubtedly find yourself asking: is that something I do? Subconsciously so many of us do, and this show gives us many relatable and hilarious examples of ways we do it.
Rose is a joy to watch and has the knack for making audience members feel comfortable with her. Starting off the piece apologising for how tight and unflattering her jeans are it immediately feels as though you’re watching a friend talk about what they’ve been up to recently. She manages to strike the perfect balance between reflecting over the wrongs and sadnesses in her life and finding hope in trying to change these wrongs. It is a story of a normal girl in normal awkward situations, and is hilariously honest.
Sophie tells us about her next door neighbour Stanley, the boy she’s dating called Craig, and her female flat mates. We never meet any of them, but are able to get to know exactly what they’re like through the way Rose describes and imitates them. She recreates the particularly ridiculous moments so that the audience can visualise them, often filling in the voices of the other characters herself. The underscore of music also helps us to understand these characters further and reflects the atmosphere of the moment.
Sophie Rose plays herself in the piece, so when she directly addresses the audience, the third wall between audience and performer is broken, and the lines are blurred between script and non script. If the script wasn’t so meticulous, you could be fooled into thinking she may be making it up on the spot. Rose is so at ease with the poetic nature of the work and the direction really does justice to this. The attention paid to rhyme, rhythm, humour and inflection in both the writing and performing of the piece make it plainly obvious how skilled Rose is.
The ending of the piece was unexpected but epitomised the message of the piece – we need to stop criticising ourselves and always correlate our decisions with what makes us happy. Sophie Rose is a great talent and I’m sure we will see plenty more work from her in the future.
Quiet Violence is playing Soho Theatre until 18 March. For more information and tickets, see Soho Theatre Website