Hula House

Hula House, created by Permanently Visible Productions, is an immersive, semi-interactive look at the life of sex workers. It is a bold, uncompromising piece of theatre based on interviews with sex workers and explores the issues that affect them.

This piece of raw work is incredibly brave

The form this show takes is a very unnerving, exposing interactive piece. As such it will not suit those who get uncomfortable easily or who want an easy viewing experience. It shows the much less commonly reported side of the prostitution issue, following women who are forced into the industry because of economic poverty, rather than being trafficked slaves. They are still mistreated by clients, the police and wider society, and this piece is a klaxon call for legalisation for the sake of safety.

Dealing with middle-class taboo and incredibly sensitive, life-affecting issues, while being an interactive, immersive experience, it is something many among the arts will find an uncomfortable experience. The symbolism of the party games is clear – each begins with what many would see as the distasteful goings-on of a brothel and turn into representations of the abuse of these women and are a strong, though unsettling part of the show. There are however regular reminders given that these are actors. Unfortunately this detaches us somewhat from the stories of these women.

Jenny Kondol acts as the hostess and engages completely with us, encouraging a great sense of empathy and investment, despite the atmosphere being less than conducive to this. Kondol is a talented artist with a drive to do good with her work – something often lacking in the ‘industry’. Sarah Xanthe gives a strong performance and manages to get a few laughs despite the tense nature of the show. On occasion there are moments which feel stilted, but they are fleeting and never too disruptive.

This piece of raw work is incredibly brave in its mission and should be absolutely encouraged. It is well-crafted theatre and I would highly recommend it to people unfamiliar with or who want to know more about the trials and tribulations of women who work in the sex trade. But do not expect an easy evening.

Reviews by Dixon Baskerville

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Performances

Location

The Blurb

Ever been to a brothel… No? Welcome to the Hula House! Enter our world and meet the women behind the stereotypes. See how sex really is our business. You pay, we’ll play… Challenge yourself, step inside, we might surprise you. ‘Voyeuristic in a way you don't first expect’ (Rachel Porter). PVP introduces a site-specific project offering raw insights into the lives of UK sex workers. An interactive, intimate experience, bound to leave you questioning why we don’t do more to help those in the sex trade. Meet at venue box office for 10 minute walk to secret location.