Review: Sex Workers’ Opera at the Tropicana – you will leave your misconceptions at the door

Performers in Sex Workers' Opera. Picture: Paul Blakemore / Theatre Orchard

Performers in Sex Workers' Opera. Picture: Paul Blakemore / Theatre Orchard - Credit: Paul Blakemore / Theatre Orchard

Sex Workers’ Opera is a frank, funny, smart musical and drama – but tickets are quickly running out to watch this show at Weston-super-Mare’s Theatre Tropicana.

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How many times have you thought about sex workers in derogatory terms? How many times have you debated it with people, without wondering what those involved in sex work actually think?

I suspect everyone has thought the worst of sex work at one stage or another, yet I doubt most of us have ever stopped to ask what those engaged in it think.

Thank goodness for this show, then, which shouts one message out above all others: ‘Listen to us’. And through the funny stories, hilarious songs, antics, and poignant messages, this show makes you do just that.

Half the cast are sex workers who are tired of being spoken for, and this story gives them the chance to tell their stories on their own terms.

Sex Workers' Opera. Picture: Paul Blakemore / Theatre Orchard

Sex Workers' Opera. Picture: Paul Blakemore / Theatre Orchard - Credit: Paul Blakemore / Theatre Orchard


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The tales come from real sex workers in 15 countries, including a webcam model, one giving marital advice and a daughter making career choices in a male-dominated world.

Co-director Siobhan Knox said: “Art and the media portray sex work in a very one dimensional way, it is either extremely glamorous or extremely tragic, and one of the messages of the show is that sex work is human; it is not good or bad, it’s just complex.”

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It look 15 minutes or so for the performance to warm up, but once the cast had settled, it eased into a frank, funny, witty, and warm performance.

That the show recognises there are no black and white answers, that it accepts the nuances about sex work, is why it succeeds.

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Above all, one message strikes home – when governments put new sex work legislation in place, they rarely ask those who work in it what they think, with disastrous, life-changing consequences.

Here is your chance to hear from sex workers directly – their opinions, their complaints, their reasons, the every day gripes we all experience in the workplace – and you will listen to their stories told in an intelligent and humorous way.

Whatever misconceptions and opinions you walk in with, you will leave them all at the door when you exit.

Oh, and you might not think about butternut squash in the same way again…

One of the performers. Picture: Paul Blakemore / Theatre Orchard

One of the performers. Picture: Paul Blakemore / Theatre Orchard - Credit: Paul Blakemore / Theatre Orchard

Sex Workers’ Opera will be shown at the Theatre Tropicana tonight (Friday) and tomorrow at 7.30pm.

Last night was a sell-out and tickets are running out fast.

Tickets, priced £10-14, are available from www.thetheatreorchard.org.uk or 01179 020344.

Sex Workers' Opera performers. Picture: Paul Blakemore / Theatre Orchard

Sex Workers' Opera performers. Picture: Paul Blakemore / Theatre Orchard - Credit: Paul Blakemore / Theatre Orchard

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