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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Since you’re here…

… we have a small favour to ask. We don't want your money to support a hack's bar bill at Abattoir, but if you have a pound or two spare, we really encourage you to support a good cause. If this review has either helped you discover a gem or avoid a turkey, consider doing some good that will really make a difference.

You can donate to the charity of your choice, but if you're looking for inspiration, there are three charities we really like.

Mama Biashara
Kate Copstick’s charity, Mama Biashara, works with the poorest and most marginalised people in Kenya. They give grants to set up small, sustainable businesses that bring financial independence and security. That five quid you spend on a large glass of House White? They can save someone’s life with that. And the money for a pair of Air Jordans? Will take four women and their fifteen children away from a man who is raping them and into a new life with a moneymaking business for Mum and happiness for the kids.
Donate to Mama Biashara now

Theatre MAD
The Make A Difference Trust fights HIV & AIDS one stage at a time. Their UK and International grant-making strategy is based on five criteria that raise awareness, educate, and provide care and support for the most vulnerable in society. A host of fundraising events, including Bucket Collections, Late Night Cabarets, West End Eurovision, West End Bares and A West End Christmas continue to raise funds for projects both in the UK and Sub-Saharan Africa.
Donate to Theatre MAD now

Acting For Others
Acting for Others provides financial and emotional support to all theatre workers in times of need through the 14 member charities. During the COVID-19 crisis Acting for Others have raised over £600,000 to support theatre workers affected by the pandemic.
Donate to Acting For Others now

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.

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