Review: I Hate It Here, Omnibus Theatre

Robbed of a run at VAULT, Sweet Beef’s highly creative I Hate It Here was an inventive delight at Omnibus Theatre

“Thank you for your interest in the role”

Sweet Beef’s I Hate It Here dipped into the Omnibus Theatre for the weekend as part of their Vault Festival Transfer Season and it’s a real shame it was such a fleeting visit as it was a nifty bit of thought-provoking work. As a devised, interactive piece, it dazzles and disarms even whilst dissecting just some of the horrific indignities that zero hour contract work imposes on so many. 

As the spectre of audience participation looms large over the opening moments, a brilliant bit of Dolly Parton settles the nerves. But far from the regularities of 9 to 5, we’re quickly introduced to the precarious realities of shift work for a nurse, a carer and a fast food worker. And over the course of a wildly diverse hour, we touch on just some of the ways that insecurity dominates their lives.

From the desperate chase for last-minute overnight childcare to dealing with overly entitled customers, Jess Haygarth’s deft production has a clear-eyed determination about it. Non-representational portrayals of the characters points at the sad universality of the situation (Jude Mack, Kathrine Payne and Conor Dumbrell all impress here) and moments of direct address draw us in even further.

And the framing device of a recruitment seminar crossed with a gameshow (it works, honest) is cleverly disruptive. Led by the wickedly dry Angela Jones and Sarah Farrell as Marlene and Shellie, we’re left really not knowing what to expect, an uncertainty that perhaps scrapes the surface of what this kind of life is like. A highly creative company delivering highly creative work, it deserves a future.

Running time: 60 minutes (without interval)
Photos: Alex Brenner
I Hate It Here is booking at the Omnibus Theatre until 13th March

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