Discretion Guaranteed

There’s a lot going on in Discretion Guaranteed at Paradise in the Vault. An infinitely able cast runs us through a myriad of concerns for modern women. While at times too many ideas are only touched on without being explored sufficiently, the effect of the production is undeniable. The youth and sincerity of the ensemble shine throughout a performance that makes us question our own preconceived understanding of the female experience in 2016.

There’s much to admire from this production.

Presented here by the Gingerly company, this play is a fast-paced, no-holds-barred piece of writing by the talented Shamim de Brún. With great fluidity, de Brún pulls us from scene to scene, allowing the audience to become increasingly disgusted by the many blatant intolerances that can be experienced by women every day. We meet vulnerable women as they are torn apart at a job interview. We are shown an incredibly unhelpful internet safety demonstration, where a woman is forced to delete her digital life for her own well-being. Despite the internet providers taking “every precaution” it is suggested the girl should move house to avoid her predators.

Two monologues stand out particularly. A divorced man explains his warped reasoning behind his need for phone sex. Even though he’s broke, he will spend every penny he has on the gratification he so desperately needs. At the other end of the spectrum, a mother and former health care professional outlines the economic necessity behind her work at the call centre. There are some great moments of acting throughout. Indeed, the beating heart of this production is its masterly ensemble.

The language employed is appropriately visceral and, at times, all too familiar. The play exposes troubling yet recognisable truths. At one point a young woman describes how she has never experienced sexual intimacy while sober, an eye-opening reminder of a youth dominated by a destructive drink culture.

The play constantly changes tack, which gives the piece momentum but also leaves it slightly underdeveloped. At times, new ideas are introduced only to be abandoned soon after. With such great writing and acting at play the piece may benefit from a more focused and rounded exploration of its themes. This is the Fringe and so it is wonderful to see a company throwing everything at the audience. One can understand the temptation to over-pack the play with ideas – there is a lot to talk about.

There’s much to admire from this production which echoes the Royal Shakespeare Company’s version of Alice Birch’s string Revolt. She Said. Revolt Again at the Traverse. It is heartening that these important themes pertaining to women are getting much needed attention. We should look forward to more work from this promising company.

Reviews by Aidan Stark

Sweet St Andrew's

The Forecast

★★★★
The Warren: Studio 2

Rap Guide to Consciousness

★★★★★
The Warren: Theatre Box

Good Grief: Stories at 207 West 88th

★★★★
The Warren: Main House

Cabaret From The Shadows

★★★★
Gilded Balloon Teviot

Oliver Reed: Wild Thing

★★★★★
Paradise in The Vault

Discretion Guaranteed

★★★★

Since you’re here…

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Performances

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The Blurb

How do women protect themselves in the digital world? Discretion Guaranteed explores the world of bloggers, female gamers and sex workers and their never-ending battle against the onslaught of abuse. A fast-paced, highly physical and decisively funny feminist piece that doesn’t shy away from hitting the mark.

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