Theatre Review: Job Seekers Anonymous

Job Seekers Anonymous. Picture: Facebook

Job Seekers Anonymous. Picture: Facebook

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SH!T Theatre have been performing their JSA shows for a year and a half. But there seems little danger of this witty, idiosyncratic cabaret piece on youth unemployment growing outdated anytime soon.

Job Seekers Anonymous - The Arches, Glasgow

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Indeed, one of their most effective set-pieces involves Louise Mothersole and Becca Biscuit improvising around the childhood vocational dreams and employment reality of audiences they’ve surveyed, including tonight’s, their flailing interpretations betraying the desperation at the core of their defiant, vaudevillian variety.

With the cost of living in London outstripping state benefits, and their alternatives ranging from becoming a “sexy secretary”, going on the game or Workfare, you intuit that they’re performing for their professional lives, struggling to justify their theatrical ambitions.

Initially at least, I rather empathised with the audience member who suggested that they themselves might be the problem – does a cash-strapped society really need job centre recreations of Charles Dickens and ukulele ditties? Does it need a £10 million “state” funeral for Margaret Thatcher and adoration of the royal baby, they bolshily retort, while acknowledging and exploring their own sense of entitlement.

At the same time, their art’s value is shown through the testimony they’ve elicited from retired women and accounts of friction they’ve experienced with their families.

There were rare sober moments amidst the pair’s instinctive irreverence, with Mothersole literally jumping through hoops in the guise of Intern Girl. They’re certainly not shy of agitprop staginess, and their hour develops and flourishes as an example of how to apply lightness of touch to disturbing political trends.

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