Fuck You Pay Me, VAULT Festival

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by guest critic Gregory Forrest

Fuck You Pay Me is a rallying cry for sluts who like cash. Preach. This amusing and insightful solo show, written and performed by Joana Nastari, begs the question: what would your mum say if she knew that you winked your butt-hole at strangers for a living?

The performance is episodic and funny, but at times overwritten. Nastari’s script is
repeatedly drawn to lists and long poetic interludes which would benefit from distillation and a clearer focus on her subject matter. Conversations with her sassy Siri-esque phone interface – voiced excellently by Kitt Proudfoot – feel like the epitome of millennial neurosis. It is a smart side-glance at digital communication, and hints at how frequently we dream up negative narratives about ourselves.

Martha Godfrey’s lighting also excels in the grotty aesthetic of Vaults, elevating Nastari to
the heights of gutter-trash and Goddess. Meanwhile, the darker themes of class politics,
colonial legacies, and patriarchal bullshit all resonate effectively.

In its premise, Fuck You Pay Me promises to flip the finger at conventional narratives of sex work and stripping. It is strange then, that the show so often stumbles into convention. Its final twists and turns feel more like slight wriggles, and its tongue-in- cheek self-awareness stops it saying much.

Nevertheless, this is a fun, intelligent, and relatively well-paced piece of theatre, which truly has a heart of gold. And heels of gold. And nipple tassels of gold. If you pay for a ticket, you won’t get fucked.

Fuck You Pay Me runs through 28 January.

The Play’s the Thing UK is committed to covering fringe and progressive theatre in London and beyond. It is run entirely voluntarily and needs regular support to ensure its survival. For more information and to help The Play’s the Thing UK provide coverage of the theatre that needs reviews the most, visit its patreon.

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