Theatre review: Workshy

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Edinburgh Festival Fringe: You can just imagine the Arts Council symposium. It’d be called “What If Live Art Falls Into The Wrong Hands?” and the main topic of discussion would be Katy Baird.

Summerhall (Venue 26)

***

Here’s a woman who ticks none of the boxes of privilege – by her own account, she is a former drug dealer, ex sex-cam worker and serial shirker – who has performed an audacious raid on arty middle-class territory. Workshy is all the wilder and funnier for it.

It’s a show that starts out like end-of-the-pier karaoke and ends up like Annie Sprinkle, all seasoned with such merry generosity and happy good humour that you almost don’t register the shock value of what she’s doing (which is probably best left out of a family newspaper).

Her theme about “what it means to serve you, the Great British public” leads her through a CV crammed with service-industry jobs from Burger King to ketamine selling. Without getting heavily political about it, she shows the human face behind the corporate videos – and smears that face with tomato ketchup for good measure.

Throw in a spot of off-beat statistical analysis inspired by the sociology degree she did as a mature student and you have a wayward reflection of an industry we all use – like the takeaway driver who turns up mid-show – but rarely think about.

Until 27 August. Today 9:10pm.