Sexy Lamp (4 stars)

Sexy Lamp

Katie Arnstein stands up against sexism in the entertainment industry with a personal tale

Named after the test pioneered by Kelly Sue DeConnick, Katie Arnstein's Sexy Lamp is a play for our times, a one-woman show about sexism in the entertainment industry. DeConnick's theory is a simple one, that posits: 'If you can take out a female character and replace her with a sexy lamp', then you are, in bold capital letters, 'a fucking hack'.

Arnstein's play begins with her wearing a lampshade over her head whilst silently revealing a series of cue cards, suggesting something with a confrontational but postmodern streak might await. Instead, Sexy Lamp is Arnstein's own account of her journey as an actor (she's rightfully not interested in being referred to as an 'actress'), from early exposure to the Wizard of Oz, through to drama school, then her first agent and auditions in London.

It's no fairytale. Judy Garland was treated terribly and paid risibly, and when Arnstein makes it to the big city her agent is patronising and useless, and her auditions are degrading and unethical. The industry is competitive and Arnstein rages against how desperation is used to exploit young women. Sexy Lamp is an exquisite riposte to all of the bullshit that has, for too long been normalized.

Pleasance Courtyard, until Aug 26, 2pm, £9.50–£10.50 (£10.50–£11.50)

Sexy Lamp

  • 4 stars

Katie Arnstein and Victoria Gagliano Brilliantly combining comedy, original songs and storytelling, Sexy Lamp sheds a bright light on how ridiculous the entertainment industry can be and why Katie is refusing to stay in the dark any longer. Winner: Show of the Week and Pleasance Pick of VAULT Festival 2019.

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