Fiona Duff: Kali’s tale of domestic violence

Kali Kopae appears in Fringe show Not In Our Neighbourhood
Kali Kopae appears in Fringe show Not In Our Neighbourhood
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Sometimes it’s difficult to sell a theatre show. A friend asked me to a show at the Fringe called Not In Our Neighbourhood. It’s at the Gilded Balloon’s Rose Theatre and he knows that I am intrinsically lazy, so somewhere a short hop from my home might entice me.

“It’s from New Zealand and about domestic violence – bring friends”, he said. Believe it or not, three said that they would like to come.

Well, this isn’t a show without humour and the subject matter could be anywhere in the world. Indeed some places more than others as I am sure we are all aware.

It is performed by actress Kali Kopae, who plays all five characters, and is quite outstanding. I mean show-stoppingly brilliant as she criss-crossed between the various women who had been abused and the woman running the refuge.

However, there was one character whose story resonated with us more than others. It was (I think, but I have seen so many shows I can’t quite remember) Theresa – a middle class, middle-aged woman and wife of a prominent local businessman as well as mother to grown up children.

She had been with her husband since her late teens and had finally had enough of the physical abuse that she had endured for years. Every nervous laugh and tic reminded us of someone that we knew

How many woman do we know whose lives seem so perfect and lovely but behind closed doors it’s a different story? They put up a veneer of respectability because domestic abuse doesn’t happen to ‘nice’ people.

We talk about mental health like there’s no tomorrow – admit to seeing therapists and being depressed, but would you dare to tell anyone that your husband (or in some cases wife) gives you a right good battering every so often?

“I walked into a cupboard door” is a story I remember a friend telling me before breaking down and saying her boyfriend had punched her.

Go see, and don’t worry about Kali – her husband wrote the play and he seems really lovely indeed.