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'Resting Switch Face' hilariously explores the trials and tribulations of being a receptionist

Following the success of their sold-out show, First Wives Pub, female-fronted theatre company Red Brassiere have created a new cabaret production.

Titled Resting Switch Face, the show is based on the lives of two polar opposite characters, Zoe and Jess, navigating the highs and lows of working as receptionists. 
 
“The production consists of Kelley [Kerr Young], Hayley [Deutrom Wakeling] and myself from the original First Wives Pub,” says musical director Roni Shewan. “We wanted to do a show that captured all the trials and tribulations of being a receptionist and how you can often get the brunt of crap in the job. These situations can be both frustrating and comical at the same time.”
 
The production was inspired by the trio’s own experiences in working as receptionists in the past, using their own anecdotal experiences to inspire ideas for the show.
 
“There’s Zoe who is one of those workers who hates her job and clearly struggles to get up in the morning and get there; she has a bit of a cynical attitude,” Shewan says. “The other character, Jess, is very positive and happy-go-lucky, but you can tell underneath that she’s really struggling to get through the day. 
 
“The play deals with the crap they go through in a working day – things like the courier being sleazy and people not remembering their names, to the photocopier breaking down and everybody asking them whether they know how to fix it. Yet they have to stay on the front desk and take calls. 
 
“A lot of people think that you can do a million things at once, but they also treat you like you’re not very bright at the same time.”
 
Red Brassiere aim to use their unique voice and production in order to discuss feminism and issues surrounding representations of women. 
 
“The characters are different representations of women and their personalities; it’s basically showing that women have diverse personalities and stories,” Shewan says. “I think it’s quite interesting that they’re placed together because they really represent how you start in the position and how you can sometimes inevitably end up. 
 
“There’s part of their personalities that are archetypes of femininity and the idea of what is female; there’s two different responses to what’s expected. Hayley is a brilliant writer, she’s very funny but she also shows the issues that women face in a way that gets you thinking where you don’t feel completely destroyed afterwards.” 
 
Shewan herself thoroughly enjoyed the process of identifying and re-harmonising music that would enhance the themes of this cabaret production. Re-working songs from Blondie, Lily Allen, Kate Bush, Dolly Parton and The Ting Tings.
 
“The show is quite relatable, I think people will be able to see a bit of themselves in there,” she says. “We’re doing Dolly Parton’s ‘9 to 5’, but it’s completely re-harmonised and the feel has changed slightly just to bring out the mundaneness of 9 to 5 and not really feeling like you’re getting anywhere. 
 
“We also chose the Lily Allen song ‘Everything is Wonderful’ because it’s about trying to get by as a younger person in the workforce, trying to get enough money to buy a house and finding that very difficult. Then you’re being told that you need to look one way, you’re seeing models in magazines and trying to live up to these standards and really struggling with that.”
 
Shewan also elaborates on how humour is a key technique for informing audiences about real-life issues in a clever way. 
 
“Humour is a great way of getting people on board. We come from a very humorous and sarcastic culture and it doesn’t like to take itself too seriously, so I think sometimes it’s the best way to give light to things.”

Resting Switch Face will play at The Butterfly Club from Monday October 22 until Saturday October 27 (excluding Tuesday) at 7pm.