Please Hold

Do you have a minute to talk about sex doll rights? Because sex dolls should have equal rights too: sick days, overtime pay, child care, union representatives! There should be a dedicated help line for abused sex dolls. Please donate generously, or whatever you can.

Please hold asks difficult questions about the human nature.

Unfortunately, the only helpline the satirical comedy-horror show Please Hold offers is for the shady customers who have purchased a sex doll. They have all kinds of weird requests, reclamations and modifications in mind. Pubes or no pubes, submissive or dominating, skinny or curvy, blond or brunette? Perhaps a pregnancy pack – all tastes are catered for.

Modifications beyond the terms and conditions he has agreed to is exactly what Marshall is after in order to build his ideal woman, a hyper-feminine and hyper-sexual Precious. But somewhere in Precious’ altered circuits consciousness emerges. And the sentient Precious isn’t content with the role Marshall has planned for her, no sir. She gets broody, moody and needy, all at once. What’s worse, Precious refuses to go into sleep mode and learns to wake herself up. The final straw is when Precious develops fear of death, the ultimate shutdown. How will Marshall handle his sex doll turned unhappy wife?

The relationship between man and machine, usually an attractive female, has been explored in numerous films from the 1927 masterpiece Metropolis to Blade Runner and more current films like the Terminator saga and Ex Machina. But sex dolls aren’t just science fiction, they are a real global phenomenon. Sex doll hotels exist everywhere form Russia to China and all around Europe. UK’s first sex doll hotel opened in 2018 in Greenwich of all places. Clearly there is a demand for adult doll play dates.

Please Hold takes on the subject with catchy original songs and numerous sex gags, as expected. The underlying critique of man's desire and the objectification of women's bodies is dealt with a light touch, which is a blessing since the show manages to avoid the usual moral preaching. There are no props, everything is relayed with the actors’ bodies. No need to make it more complicated.

A Company of Six is a young theatre group focusing on feminist themes and queer representation. Victoria Mazeris plays the perfect life-size Barbie doll Precious. Tarik Badwan is as dislikeable Marshall as you can expect. The three sex line workers Cherry, Honey and Ruby are the most annoying know-it-all helpline workers you’re ever going to meet, played brilliantly by Shannon Noble, Nickey van Tooren and Jade Radley. The best performances of the night goes to Luke Rogers, who plays all male help line callers with their nasty requests.

In this play there are just two types of men: sexual predators and losers, who see sex dolls as their only option for intimacy. Please Hold asks difficult questions about the human nature. It also references another classic tale of Frankenstein and his monster. Who is the real monster and what does that tell us about the society that builds monsters?

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Reviews by Johanna Makelainen

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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 £1.7m to support theatre workers affected by the pandemic.
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Performances

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The Blurb

Please Hold is a devised, satirical comedy-horror show centred around a ready-to-please sex doll helpline. A genius inventor, with a burning desire for love, is introduced when he conceives his own ideal, hyper-feminine and hyper-sexual sex machine: Precious. The inventor's fantasy shatters as his own creation quickly gains sentience and discovers her sexual independence. Their worlds collapse as their conflict of interest ends in a dangerous altercation. With original songs and lots of sex gags, the show is underpinned by a critique of man's desire, and the objectification of women's bodies in our patriarchal, consumerist culture.

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