Demise – A stage play review

Prostitution is much more than what society presumes it to be; drugs; money; sex. But, this is just the basics. Prostitution in the real life is complex, the people are just like you and me, just a little bit more desperate. For them, providing services to a paying customer is just as normal as me tapping away at this keyboard. For them, this is their lives, and Demise sheds a light onto the realism of prostitution.

Demise is a stage play written by Emma Blemings and performed by students at Edge Hill University. It was the first stage performance I’ve attended whilst at the Uni, so I was eagerly anticipating what to expect. Although I found that I was pleasantly surprised by the acting and plot.

The story follows what seems to be a successful prostitution business. It begins with one of the employees at home with her father, who clearly doesn’t know her job role. The story introduces more characters throughout, most of which are very well developed. In turn, they each give snippets of past experiences, when giving advice to a new employee. They express their experiences humorously, offering comedy to strange fetishists and awkward roleplaying. The anecdotes proved to be very successful with the audience.

Most of the performances were very strong and handled well by the actors/actresses. I couldn’t help but feel that some of the acting seemed forced, and it isn’t clear whether this is a fault of the script or the acting. Also, it seemed as if the plot fell into a couple of clichés as I’d noticed, for example the stereotypically ‘gay’ male, and the subplot which included an ex-boyfriend demanding his money. Whilst the stereotypically gay male did work with the narrative, it would’ve been interesting to see what Blemings could’ve done with an unconventional, male prostitute. Also, as much as the subplot was a nice addition, it could’ve been a bit more entertaining as the whole idea behind owing money seemed quite dry and predictable. However, watching the rest of the characters come to light was very interesting to see, as it was placing these prostitutes in an environment that was not familiar to the audience.

At the end of the performance, the cast and crew all took gracious bows and explained how they were hoping to take the stage play up to Edinburgh Fringe Festival, which is the largest arts festival in the world. After watching the performance, I really do hope that Blemings and the cast are successful in their venture to the festival.

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