How To Defend Yourself Review


Content warning: How To Defend Yourself contains themes of sexual assault and violence against women.

How To Defend Yourself, written by Lillian Padilla, made its Australian debut this month at the Old Fitz Theatre with Outhouse Theatre Company and Redline Productions. 

Georgia Anderson and Saro Lepejian in How To Defend Yourself, 2022. Photo by Phil Erbacher ©

The piece follows seven students attending a self-defence workshop at an American university after a young girl, Susannah, is brutally sexually assaulted at a frat party and ends up in hospital. Some stand-out performances included Georgia Anderson as Diana, a Mexican-American student who is hardcore but tin, and Jess Paterson as Nikki, a shy sophomore wanting to learn how to get stronger. 

It was performed in an intimate space which worked in the show’s favour, as it helped the story feel more real. I would like to applaud the set designer (Soham Apte) on their ability to create a space where the audience feels connected to the environment no matter where they’re sitting. The use of sound and lighting also assisted this. 

The cast of How To Defend Yourself, 2022. Photo by Phil Erbacher ©

How To Defend Yourself addresses a multitude of issues such as sexual assault, female relationships, mental health, cultural identity, expectations placed upon young women, sexuality, innocence, and childhood.

4 Stars.

Jollee, 17, [she/they]

Outhouse Theatre’s How To Defend Yourself plays at The Old Fitz Theatre until the 3rd of September. Buy tickets here.