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Fluff review: Sex workers’ hidden lives laid bare

Dublin Fringe Festival 2022: Lianne O’Hara’s debut play amplifies the voices of those who choose to make a living with their body


Black Box, Smock Alley Theatre

There is a political purpose to Lianne O’Hara’s earnest debut play, which uses a deliberately dissembling title to disarm the audience. Drawn from the author’s experiences as a stripper, and interviews from other women in the industry, the intention is to amplify the voices of those who choose to make a living with their body. The idea of choice is key to the narrative that O’Hara has shaped. Why should women be shamed, abused or criminalised for exercising economic autonomy?

Performed by O’Hara and her collaborator and colleague Shir Madness, there is an authenticity to the experiences represented through the characters of Lola (O’Hara) and Carly (Madness), which include a dramatic crisis brushed off with startling pragmatism. However, the integration of historical, legal and social context is less effective, and the performers’ dispassionate delivery of even the most emotionally affecting lines suggests a darker truth to their stories that remains unexplored here.

But if, as Lola professes at one key moment, her ambition is “just to be seen”, Fluff succeeds in bringing a life like hers into the public eye.

Runs at Smock Alley Theatre, Dublin 2, until Saturday, September 24th, as part of Dublin Fringe Festival

Sara Keating

Sara Keating

Sara Keating, a contributor to The Irish Times, is an arts and features writer