Review: Spit Me Out

A candid, revealing and honest play about four friends having a dinner party, trying to right the wrongs of years of miseducation on sexual abuse.

This post may contain mature or challenging content.

Review: Spit Me Out

‘Spit Me Out’, produced by Slap Theatre, is a short four-person play that highlights the issues around consent, sexual abuse and how damaging toxic masculinity can be. There is a lot to unpack in this 45-minute show that managed to pick us up and put us down when we were least expecting it – with original songs and red sparkly jackets, I might add. A part of the play I thought I could have done without at the start but with the heavy, uncomfortable subject matter, red sparkly jackets were a good call. 

The conversation around consent is one that our society dips in and out of. Apart from those campaign ads in 2016 with the talking eggs wearing bras, there hasn’t been too much since. Of course, the #metoo era steered the conversation back on track, but even that, with the release of Bill Cosby, for example, hasn’t always had the impact one would hope.

‘Spit Me Out’ brings the conversation back down to earth, starting with four friends sat around a dinner table innocently sharing the stories of their first sexual experiences.

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“Mine was with an older guy behind a bus, and I was like, 12. I hadn’t even been kissed before…” – or words to that effect.

Words that anyone who overheard would naturally be disgusted by. This casual omission of a time in a woman’s life where she hadn’t realised she had been a victim of sexual abuse portrays one of the many gaps in the conversation surrounding this issue that the cast of ‘Spit Me Out’ addressed.

We have all read the stories, heard the figures and been appalled by the shocking number of women – and men – who suffer from sexual abuse and have seen no justice. ‘Spit Me Out’ is not just another story relaying the same shocking details we all know is a global problem. ‘Spit Me Out’ is about changing perceptions and having the conversation that so many would rather run away from. This ironically largely comes from the two male characters in the show.

One is your run-of-the-mill, insensitive, alpha male. He is so wrapped in lad culture, clinging to the fact his ill-treatment of women is nothing more than “banter” that the idea of admitting a toxic, abusive father influenced him is too much to handle. The other is a “nice guy”. He is going out with a woman who was abused and is all very understanding and patient. That is until she discloses to him what she actually went through, and he realises he too has been sexually assaulting women for years because his actions – an unexpected grab of the throat here or a wake-up call she did not ask for there – are those of sexual perpetrators.

If that wasn’t enough to silence the audience, on top of that, they tackled how some women – whether they are consciously aware of it or not– tend to gravitate towards ‘girl on girl’ adult viewing material because heterosexual adult viewing material, where every video is essentially fulfilling a guys rape fantasy, is not actually enjoyable, comfortable or pleasurable viewing for a woman.

The themes in this play are heavy – but in my opinion, should be mandatory viewing. Sexual abuse, assault, violence is practically a pandemic that we haven’t been able to cure for centuries. The statistics rise every year, and the way in which victims of abuse are dealt with, treated and interrogated is still very much behind the times –  to put it lightly.

‘Spit Me Out’ wasn’t perfect, but it was honest, relevant and thought-provoking. The actors had great chemistry with one another and portrayed their characters very convincingly. A warning at the beginning of the show or some signposting at the end should have been considered because the subject matter is triggering – and anger-inducing – but it is a conversation that needs to continue to be had until things change.

‘Spit Me Out’ raised many questions around consent and reminded us all that there is still so much of the conversation that needs to be heard. Women who survive sexual abuse need to stop being referred to as “brave survivors” because it gives too much power to this imposed attack, a power it does not need to have as the attack itself has already changed their lives forever. Men who subject women to numbers, rank them or objectify and degrade them publicly should not be seen as harmless because they are not. There is always more to the off-handed comment than meets the eye. Men who think they are acting passionately need reminding that asking to do something is not a weakness or a mood killer. It’s a vital sign of respect and consideration for your partner.

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With nothing but a few chairs, a few sparkly jackets and a couple of rather catchy songs, the cast of ‘Spit Me Out’ have created something timely, important, and quite special. If more people used their stages to be this candid, honest and forthcoming about matters this crucial, it would be a start in righting the wrongs of the gross miseducation surrounding consent, sexual abuse, and what it means to live with it.

A lot of thought had gone into making this conversation accessible to the masses, and although it doesn’t make it any less of a hard conversation to have, I would say the cast did very well in achieving this. A genuine well done to the cast for adding a different dimension to the conversation.

Header Image Credit: Saskia Calliste

Author

Saskia Calliste

Saskia Calliste Voice Team

Saskia is the Deputy Editor of Voice and has worked on campaigns such as International Women’s Day, Black History Month, and Anti-Bullying Week. Outside of Voice, Saskia is a published author (Hairvolution) and has guest featured in various other publications (The Women Writers’ Handbook/ Cosmopolitan/ The Highlight). She has a BA in Creative Writing and Journalism and an MA in Publishing. She is a mentor for Women of the World Global, has guest lectured at the University of Roehampton and has led seminars/panel talks on Race, Equality and Diversity. She was a 2022 Guest Judge for Dave (TV Channel) in search of the 'Joke of the Fringe'. She is 27-years-old, based in London, and loves to cook and explore new places in her spare time.

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