Sunday, 15 July 2018

Whorephobia - King's Arms Theatre, Salford.

The last time I saw these two young ladies perform they were in their underwear. This evening as I walked into the theatre, they are both onstage, again, in their underwear. Best be careful - people may talk!

But seriously... the two young ladies in question are Crystal Williams and Rachel Isbister, both graduates of Salford University, and together they are Girls' Time Theatre. Tackling the tricky issues of sex and the payment thereof seems to be their speciality; but don't misunderstand me - these girls are serious, tackling serious issues, and they are powerful performers.

Whorephobia, in its simplest form, is a noun meaning the hatred of sex workers. However, this can be and is extended to mean also the hatred of discrimination towards sex workers. As their video montage tells, not only is it the 'oldest profession in the world' but it isn't something that will go away. There will always be a demand for this kind of sexual gratification; so isn't it time the government realised this and did more to help, improve, demystify and change the social status of people working in this industry.

Using four real case studies, Williams and Isbister perform 4 short monologues. They are the heartfelt gritty realisms of four such sex workers. Why they do it, how they first started, how it makes them feel, etc. Each of these monologues is prefaced by a male voice-over giving what I assume to be an online critique / recommendation for the services he has paid for.

Their hard-hitting, tell-it-like-it-is style, combined with their youthfulness and obvious talent make them a winning combination. They have something important to tell, and in the 25 minutes that we were in their company, they made sure that we heard the message loud and clear.

What is also abundantly clear is that Crystal Williams and Rachel Isbister are two names which will (I hope) be at the forefront of ground-breaking theatre for many years to come.

Reviewer - Matthew Dougall
on - 14/7/18

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