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You Won't Help Me | The Other Palace Studio

You Won’t Help Me is a fly-on-the-wall play written and produced by Phoenix Benham, as we follow the relationship of her character Sarah and her husband-to-be David. The play starts as a classic love story as David pulls off a cheesy but endearing proposal. However, as the play continues, we follow the heartbreaking decline of their relationship as David adopts abusive behaviours, slowly increasing to physical violence and rape. It is a chilling story that needs to be told.

The show follows the heartbreaking story of Sarah as she navigates the unthinkable situation of finding herself in an abusive relationship with the man she loves, shortly after suffering a miscarriage. Benham played this part to perfection, not just tugging at heartstrings but ripping them out. It was a harrowing but incredibly realistic performance, pulling the audience along with her every step of the way, of her slow decline towards her breaking point.

One unique direction about You Won’t Help Me was the asides taken by Sarah, and at points, David, marked by a sudden blue light. This allowed the audience to gain a deep insight into Sarah’s thoughts, branching from the happiness of the proposal, to the desperation felt as the show comes to an end and she takes her own life.

Another aspect of lighting design that was noticed was the blackouts between every scene. This was something that noticeably added to the suspense felt by the audience as we waited with bated breath for the next addition to the story. However, this constant use of blackout also made the production feel choppy, being pulled out of the action so frequently made it harder to stay connected to the characters and engaged in the story. Nonetheless, this engagement was not entirely lost as the story was so gripping, it was hard not to stay invested.

The set was simple and remained the same throughout the play, with a sofa, chairs, and a bar. This set was used as multiple locations but one remained constant, the house of our main couple. This portrayed a powerful message about the unexpectedness of domestic violence, having the home transform from a place of happiness to a place of terror. All of this taking place in such a mundane setting, created a clear message, that domestic abuse can happen to anyone.

The use of stage combat was executed to perfection, causing audible gasps from the audience. It presented the gravity of Sarah’s danger in a way that meant it had to be confronted. There was no suggestion or alluding, it was right there in front of us, in a shocking but necessary way.

You Won’t Help Me is a harrowing but important play. It presents domestic violence from multiple perspectives, from that of the people directly in the situation, to the friends surrounding the couple. It provides real education in regard to warning signs and does not attempt to sugar-coat the situation. There is not a happy ending as unfortunately is the case for many victims, providing us with a harsh reality that needs to be faced. It is a story that needs to be told and a show that needs to be watched. You Won’t Help Me is playing at The Other Palace Studio until the 31st March. For more information and tickets, you can follow the link here.


AD | gifted tickets in return for an honest review


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