Review of UoN Fringe 2019: Working For The Man by Naked Truth Theatre at The Platform Club, Northampton
Working for the Man is perhaps unsurprisingly about the sex trade, and explores exploitation and how, or if, prostitution is taken as a serious profession.
It involves no live audio dialogue from performer Ellie Lomas, instead, she inhabits a purely physical performance, that is progressed by the use of a pair of headphones which you are given at the start. Across this audio are instructions of what to do. "Get in the car", "sit in the middle seat in the back", "open the glove compartment" etc, as you move to different areas of the car. As well as these instructions, true stories from sex workers are told, garnered from 'Nordic Now', an organisation which fights for the rights of those workers. You are also given instructions regarding what to do if you wish to cease the performance with a safe word.
The audio itself is cleverly constructed, and genuinely brings great emotion in how it is relayed upon you. It doesn't preach though, it is clear and concise with the information it relays with how the stories are relayed, and from all this, you leave enlightened, but also from some of the stories broken.
It is also impressively constructed visually. Using the car as the theatre space, the placement in the various seats throughout offer some incredibly powerful angles, front seat rear uses the bonnet at the most perfect performance area, driver's seat allows the rear view mirror to hold that perfect final sequence to completion. It is almost a little filmic in the way it is brought about, and in that, totally superb.
Perhaps the only true criticism is how open the theatre space is for this, the whole piece being performed outside the cafe, and by outdoor seating, actually makes the location more uncomfortable than the piece itself is at times. It's true that this is as much an issue for the performer as the viewer, but a little more closed location would have made this more about the show, and indeed it truly being a one-on-one performance, and less the thought that actually you are part of the show as well. Which for many an audience member, that is not what they would want.
Performance viewed: Sunday 5th May 2019
Details here: Fringe Festival 2019