A new, seemingly naive charity worker walks out of her gap year and into her corporate office. Problems arise as she and the play cast a suspicious light on the inner workings of our capitalist charity sector, analysing why and how we give to those in need in this smart, funny, biting satire.
Every other line is a side-splitting surprise and the play is continually knocking you on your back foot to bellow in laughter
The 3rd Sector pulls in a colourful and recognisable array of characters, from the overly hapless fundraiser and the overly slick head of PR to the overly spiritual singer behind a patronising charity single. But these parodied characters always remain wonderfully believable, never quite resorting to mere mockery or coming down on anyone’s particular side. Everyone’s motives are closely dissected and no-one comes out looking good. Pursuing a career concerned with giving doesn’t make them any less selfish: being in the business side of charity simply renders them more business-minded than charitable. Characters sometimes seem slightly simplified for the sake of a cleaner, more coherent plot-progression or message, but the clarity is refreshing and ought to be welcomed when not done to excess.
The script itself is a curious mix of office pleasantries and unconsciously hilarious observations. Every other line is a side-splitting surprise and the play is continually knocking you on your back foot to bellow in laughter, in a manner much more effective than a serious tirade against hypocrisy in the charity sector would be. It is never less entertaining than it is thought-provoking.
The acting, too is of a solid standard, although it seems repetitive: it is as if the cast are playing the same scene again and again, just with different sounds coming out. One wonders how much direction the nonetheless skilled actors actually received. Staging, too, is quite elementary, each scene apparently identically blocked. These factors do bring down a show that could have benefited from being slightly more thought-out as a theatrical performance, but the thought given to the story and writing still makes this a production very much worth seeing.