Pure Theatre Productions presents The 3rd Sector – a satire about charities, the people employed by them, and the unanswered “question of ethics”.
The purportedly naïve Marlin begins a job at an organ donor charity, after ‘saving the world’ gap-year style in Uganda working with blind children. When she finds out £6000 has been spent in a hotel room out of the charity’s budget, Marlin can’t help but investigate. Her discovery of a very hedonistic homeless person ‘recovering’ from an organ transplant validates her suspicion of the charity’s corruption.
Josh, a character who reeks of capitalism, admits he once had a homeless person arrested for sitting next to his favourite cash point. Also cold-hearted in his inability to maintain a meaningful relationship and in his music choice (his favourite song is a Pepsi advert), he is redeemed in an interesting twist at the end. The characters have genuine depth; even Marlin’s childish idealisms are personal and perceptive.
The corporate side of charities is explored in Marlin’s surprise to find few people who care as much as her, if at all. This play exposes the sinister nature of advertising in boss Carmel’s bid to find the exact ethnicity to feature on the front of a brochure which will make people feel the guiltiest so that they donate.
Cynicism and also its absence is a big source of humour in this performance. The inability to see contradictory or futile actions is satirised in both extremes with Marlin’s utopianism and her colleague Eve’s bitterness.
The script is very funny, especially the office scenes which are depicted subtly and accurately.