Camden Fringe 2011
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A brave and bold take on the issues around prostitution, which avoids falling into the trap of offering a catalogue of gratuitous and sensational detail. The writing digs a little deeper by presenting two contrasting female characters trying to make sense of their unfulfilling lives and loves.
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We meet the pair in the surroundings of a dimly lit hotel room near Heathrow. The simple staging of mismatched, cheap furniture screams the depressingly familiar style of low grade chain accommodation. The two women appear similarly mismatched, though with Jennifer in her fake fur and high heels and Katherine in her black and blue waitress uniform the two could be preparing to entertain clients demanding some unimaginative role play.
The pair exchange tales of a loveless life in which men treat women casually, their only aim being instant gratification or in Katherine’s case, a staid and predictable pipe and slippers future. Jennifer’s real life struggle and odd tales of dirty men who want whips and chains rather than straight sex are scattered around like dirty laundry in a teenager’s bedroom. Katherine’s woes centre on her first love Hugh, who we are now told has found the female equivalent of Gok Wan.
Cleverly the voices of Katherine’s work colleagues are interwoven throughout the piece as they try and make sense of her disappearance.
The Accomplice gives an insight into the reality of woman who sell their bodies but this was a piece that made ample use of comedy to bring the piece to life. In particular Anne Doyle gives Jennifer the physicality and vocal dexterity required to bring her anecdotes vividly to life. The performance paints a seedy picture of the Chinese gentleman who suffers a heart attack whilst being beaten with a leather paddle.
Ines Loughery as the more reserved Katherine is a good foil and playful banter between the two made this a credible friendship.
This piece delivers some hard truths on relationships and the dating game. Jennifer brutally expresses what she sees as the various categories of men she has encountered and perhaps turns on its head the theories of what a female really looks for in a man. It certainly made this reviewer think about whether being a Michel Roux in the kitchen and a Hugh FW in the bedroom is a satisfactory combination. Perhaps Hugh keeps a secret stash of whips under the bed. Maybe someone needs to write a sequel featuring two men in a dimly lit hotel room?