Image: Sarah Walker
Indie theatre - you just never know what you’re going to get, do you? I mean, you can grab a paper programme and try to guess as you sit yourself down next to some skinny-jean clad, high-haired hipster and a couple of girls dressed like your nanna, but really, anything could happen. It’s cheap, it’s cheerful, and sometimes it’s just spectacular.
The 2012 Melbourne Fringe and (the other) Greenroom's award-winning Show Me Yours, I’ll Show You Mine, directed by Scarlett McGlynn has been brewing since November 2011, when Tim Spencer conducted his first interview with “Not Nick,” a male sex worker. What followed was a series of interviews designed to reveal, challenge and ultimately be shown theatrically to “open up a dialogue around the inherently complex issue of sex work.”
It’s so simple, so interesting, and inherently raw and honest. I use the word ‘raw’ sparingly because, when referring to anything other than vegetables, it borders on the pretentious - but there’s no getting around the fact that this stuff is raw. Mr Spencer and Not Nick, played by the remarkably engaging Charles Purcell, sit and talk. It’s not fancy; it's a conversation. There are two chairs centre stage and the actors sit in them, and chat. There is a brief costume change by Not Nick, and then more talking; it's intensely engaging conversation that will have you hooked until the curtain-free curtain call.
The script isn’t verbatim; rather the sentiments expressed by Not Nick the sex worker are re-worded for theatrical purposes, but the truth is the same. Moments of humour break moments of intimacy, and the audience is treated to some wonderful, candid story-telling. What emerges is a show about the making of a show, about the life of a sex-worker and in turn, the life of a theatre-maker. Fascinating.
Sadly, there is some visual projection (I thought I would finally get through an entire show without having to see a screen), but only during the costume change, so it’s inoffensive. I suppose the talented Jason Glenwright (lighting design) and Max Rapley (sound design) needed something to do - it was certainly well done.
Having never met a sex-worker, and it’s true that pre-conceived notions of what it means to be one were entrenched in my mind - but not anymore.
Show Me Yours, I’ll show You Mine is playing at the Roundhouse Theatre until July 27.