The Sexworkers’ Opera
Reviewed – 23rd November 2017
“profound and moving whilst maintaining a comic twist”
A company whose cast consists of members who have experience of sex work and the stigma that holds, adds authenticity and humility to this exciting and ground-breaking musical performance.
Humour and raunchy performances are forefront throughout. Not hiding behind stereotypes or assumptions, real stories from sex workers around the world are shared originally and beautifully. Outspoken and brash, this performance addresses British culture’s taboo attitude to sex that led to criminalising the sex industry. Addressing important political points, this honest, outspoken piece is an empowering watch.
Comedy eases the audience in and comforts them throughout. The acting is at times quirky, but the cast aren’t all actors by profession, which is kind of the point of the piece. And that makes it all the more authentic to watch.
The writing is profound and moving whilst maintaining a comic twist. The set is simple and Brechtian and it works expertly; the musicians join the performance and the actors change costume and character on stage. The music uses familiar tunes, comical verse and juxtaposition to bring the audience on side. Songs to tap along to and lyrics to laugh at, what more does an opera need? The second act is somewhat more impactful than the first due to both violence and nudity. These scenes give us a taste of the risks sex workers take and the stigma they face.
Jagged around the edges and as honest as it is funny, anyone who’s interested in the sex industry or politics should be watching this. The final song repeats the lyrics ‘listen to me, listen to me’ – how fitting after a moving performance from this unheard community.
Reviewed by Lucy Marsh
Photography by Julio Etchart
THE SEXWORKERS’ OPERA
is at Ovalhouse until 2nd December