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Review: Indian Ink’s new play ‘Dirty Work’

Dirty Work is the latest production from the Indian Ink theatre company. It’s a quirky piece of theatre, with action that takes place in an office space in a single day.

The opening scene sees a cleaning woman Joy (Catherine Yates) picking up the detritus from the desks. It’s an amusing scene and Yates shows her comedic flair without any dialogue as she shows the disgust we all would share having to deal with other people’s crap. 

Shortly afterwards Neil (Justin Rogers) enters. He’s the head honcho of the office and he’s horrified to discover all the computers are missing. As his colleagues enter and take their seats, he tries to uncover what has happened and keep a hold on the situation. 

One of his co-workers Zara (Tessa Rao) tries to ably assist him, but there seems to be a semi flirtatious relationship between the two that gets in the way. 

The office workers themselves are actually a choir, and at times break into song that is melodious and beautifully orchestrated. 

The story wends through the day and covers a lot of different issues and topics from office politics, to prejudice, to misunderstandings. There is a lot of humour in this piece, and a scene that takes quite a dark turn. 

What Dirty Talk does well is show the wonderful complexity of the human condition and the light and dark sides of all of us. Neil for instance is over zealous and pompous, and even obsequious at times, but also kind and caring, and when necessary, quite brave. Zara is full of principles but in a moment of weakness falls into prejudice. 

These three main cast members bounce off each other very well, both Rogers and Yates have great comic timing, and watching Yates deliver a character who seemed to be channeling Kath and Kim was just hilarious. 

There are two scenes which stand out in the play – one is a montage of vignettes as Neil and Zara imagine travelling the world together. It was a compelling, and beautiful moment. The other was a scene where Zara gets everyone to wish Joy a happy birthday. It too was a very touching moment.

The comedy, drama, and singing combined to make Dirty Work a wonderfully charming piece of theatre that is in keeping with the heritage of interesting and somewhat quirky works Indian Ink keep on producing. 

DIRTY WORK – nationwide tour June 2023

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