Underbelly
16-30 August, 12:00
Home of the WrigglerThis unassuming depiction of the myriad hardworking lives associated with a car manufacturing company is witty and poignant. Inspired by the closure of a car factory in Birmingham, Home of the Wriggler indicates the central role of such institutions for many generations and families.

One group of manual workers tells the story of a couple of generations of factory life, lighting themselves with self-powered, old-fashioned technologies such as bikes and spinning wheels, creating an industrial mood and reminding us of the hard physical labour and sheer effort behind every technological advance.

The informal, conversational style between the fellow workers is authentic, vividly conveying the mood of the factory life which binds their stories together. Narration in the third-person while demonstrating first-person parts is a particularly enjoyable dramatic device. The clever script compares and contrasts the personal and practical in many ways, bringing alive the humanity and dreams of the factory employees, despite their perhaps mundane working roles. For those who have familiarity with the culture, the narration of the complex relationships between subjects is particularly evocative and gently amusing.

As the lights go up at the end of the performance the humanity of these ‘cogs in the machine’ is highlighted. My press pack says that this is an explanation of long-extinct activities from the year 3000, when oil has run out and early technologies must once again be relied upon.  However, this perspective is not necessary to the sense and effectiveness of this moving tale of small lives, of the personal existence which political events can affect so deeply.

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