Writer Alecky Blythe, director Joe Hill Gibbons and actors Debbie Chazen and Beatie Edney in discussion with the Royal Court’s Diversity Associate, Ola Animashawun.… Read more
The Royal Court Theatre and Drum Theatre Plymouth present
The Girlfriend Experience
By Alecky Blythe
18 September - 11 October 2008
Jerwood Theatre Upstairs
Tickets: Tuesday-Saturday £15. Mondays £5
“We have Tessa, curvy dress size 14, very bubbly, offers most services. We also have Suzie, curvy dress size 18 to 20, very passionate lady, offers the full girlfriend experience.”
Tessa has set up a business; a brothel by the sea where mature women specialise in the Girlfriend Experience, a surprisingly caring and sympathetic service.
As the women stoically strive to make a living in a competitive market, their personal lives start to crumble. Will they ever have loving relationships outside work and enjoy being girlfriends themselves?
This extraordinary play is created entirely from edited conversations recorded inside an actual brothel.
Please note that this production contains explicit sexual references. Suitable for ages 16+
Select a Date
Dates in September
|Thu 18 Sep 2008||7:45pm||Jerwood Theatre Upstairs|
Sold out Performances
5 stars thelondonpaper, 26 September
Superb cast. Hilarious, sweet and genuinely frightening.
Guardian, Michael Billington, 25 September
Gritty, remorselessly honest piece of verbatim theatre. Debbie Chazen as Tessa, Beatie Edney as Suzie and Lu Corfield as Poppy all inhabit their characters with a rigorous truthfulness.’
Evening Standard, Nicholas De Jongh, 24 September
An invaluable piece of social realism.
Independent, Alice Jones, 25 September
The excellent cast deliver the warmest and most engaging of performances. There is not one weak link, from Debbie Chazens bovver-booted madam and Beatie Edneys naively romantic National Trust member Suzy, to the more adventurous and troubled Poppy and the statuesque Esther Coles, while Alex Lowe manfully takes on all manner of creepy peccadilloes as the constant stream of clients. Blythe has crafted a tender 90 minutes, giving the narrative moments of menace and humour.’
4 stars Daily Telegraph, Charles Spencer, 25 September
Absolutely filthy, hugely entertaining. Funny, touching and absolutely filthy. Alecky Blythe is one of his countrys chief exponents of verbatim theatre. Previous documentary outings have included coverage of an armed siege in Hackney and a hilarious account of the sex lives of the over-sixties. Now she turns her attention to the denizens of a massage parlour in Bournemouth. Blythe spent moths with them in their cosy basement brothel and recorded many hours of their conversation. During the show a quartet of busty actresses, dolled up in outlandish and often far from flattering lingerie, listen to recordings of the working girls original words through headphones and replicate them with eerie verisimilitude. It is as if the audience were flies on the wall in the brothel itself.
But as our bossy Home Secretary Jacqui Smith attempts to gain Brownie points by attempting to close down such establishments, a move that would arguably force prostitutes back to the dangers of the streets, the play paints a surprisingly benign impression of the oldest profession.
The play is often cryingly funny. These heroically resilient womens remarks about some of their less engaging punters are often witheringly contemptuous, but they regard others with what seem like genuine affection.
All four women come to warm, witty and utterly persuasive life in the performances of Debbie Chazen, Esther Coles, Lu Corfield and Beatie Edney, while Alex Lowe offers fleeting cameos of nine different punters ranging from ordinary guys to the downright creeps.
This is a hugely entertaining eye-opener of a show, and the Home Secretary should book her tickets pronto.’
5 stars Telegraph on Sunday, Tim Walker, 28 September
One of the great joys of this job is going to a production expecting nothing and finding oneself confronted by something that delivers everything. Certainly a day in the life of a group of Bournemouth prostitutes sounds a pretty grim subject for a play, but Alecky Blythes The Girlfriend Experience is a wonderfully fresh, knowing and funny piece of work.
There is some beautiful ensemble playing by the actresses playing the girls, who have all of the power and none of the responsibility. Together they get across very well how fundamentally humdrum their calling is albeit punctuated by moments of terror and ludicrousness. Top marks, too, to Alex Lowe, who plays all of the men availing themselves of their various services including a very naughty pensioner.
It occurs to me that this play, deftly directed by Joe Hill-Gibbins, ought really to be anathema to all upstanding folk, but I loved every minute of it. In its own way, it is utterly magnificent. Go expecting a wicked, guilty, down-to-earth pleasure and you will not be disappointed.
The Times, Sam Marlowe, 29 September
Alecky Blythes new work, sensitively directed by Joe Hill-Gibbins, uses a verbatim method by which recorded interview material is played to actors via headphones during performance and repeated, every pause, stammer and intonation intact. The process lends an absorbing authenticity to the action. The drama poignant, sometimes disturbing, often riotously funny obliquely illuminates not just a less remarked upon corner of the sex industry, but the moral confusion of a rampantly sexualised society.
Independent on Sunday, Kate Bassett, 28 September
Whats wonderful about this delicately structured verbatim docu-drama- put together from interviews by Alecky Blythe of Recorded Delivery is its rich and subtle real-life detailing. The mix of the mundane and the outlandish is both absorbing and hilarious. Debbie Chazen is superb as the amazingly funny Tessa: a voluptuous middle-aged mum who runs the place and clumps around in dominatrix boots. Director Joe Hill-Gibbins actresses are all superb, laughing over their kinkiest clients but also slumping into jaded blank stares and booze. See this.