dfp_header_hidden_string

Get our free email newsletter with just one click

Fulfilment review at Underbelly, Edinburgh – ‘inventive mixture of puppetry and verbatim theatre’

Fulfilment at Underbelly, Edinburgh Fulfilment at Underbelly, Edinburgh

Though the term ‘fulfilment centre’ might paint a different picture, Amazon’s goods are dispatched from huge warehouses staffed by workers on zero-hour contracts. Union membership is discouraged. Toilet breaks are considered TOT – Time Off Task – so employees avoid drinking water. Fear of dismissal for unmet targets is constant.

Kezia Cole and Richard Hay’s inventive show combines verbatim material drawn from interviews with Amazon workers with comic sequences featuring Robox, a cute puppet made of corrugated cardboard with long spiralling limbs, who’s part logo, part algorithm.  Created by Jimmy Grimes and manipulated bunraku-style by the cast, he’s a perky and friendly presence, eager to learn the tastes of his audience, to meet their every need.

Moments of audience interaction with Robox are woven with increasingly frenzied depictions of Amazon workers running themselves ragged, the cast tearing around the space until they’re red-faced and sweating.

While the juxtaposition between Robox’s disarmingly cheery scenes and the reality of the employees’ lives is marked, the two sides of the show feel a bit disconnected. The verbatim sections are distressing and compelling in their own right – the anger at the way large corporations treat their workers radiates from the piece. These stories deserve more space.

Typical review at Pleasance Courtyard, Edinburgh – ‘makes you want to shout at the injustice’

 

We need your help…

When you subscribe to The Stage, you’re investing in our journalism. And our journalism is invested in supporting theatre and the performing arts.

The Stage is a family business, operated by the same family since we were founded in 1880. We do not receive government funding. We are not owned by a large corporation. Our editorial is not dictated by ticket sales.

We are fully independent, but this means we rely on revenue from readers to survive.

Help us continue to report on great work across the UK, champion new talent and keep up our investigative journalism that holds the powerful to account. Your subscription helps ensure our journalism can continue.

Subscribers to The Stage get 10% off The Stage Tickets’ price
Verdict
Inventive mixture of puppetry and verbatim theatre exploring the unpalatable reality of working for Amazon
^