Saturday, January 28

Work.txt – Summerhall Old Lab

Work.txt is a show about work in which the audience do all (well… most of) the work. Only they tread the boards as there are no actors; following instructions projected on the wall, communicated over headphones or printed out onto a script. They build the set, read lines and act out what needs acting out together (if they are okay with that), alone (if they volunteer) or just as witnesses (if they prefer) to the others, the interplay between audience and screen, and to the light show and music, aided by an atmospheric haze machine.

Why? It’s a show about the gig economy, financial instability and bad jobs, as seen through a day in a nameless city, and the impact and connections made by a single worker. The format illustrates all that, though I can’t imagine anyone finding their part of this interactive show a bad job. Effortlessly warmed up by… text on a screen, the show ably forecasts audience member reactions, never over-stepping and often drawing laughs with it. In fact, the biggest mistake made by the show was expecting an awkward silence when the audience actually carried on interacting with each other and socialising.

The show effortlessly navigates its bold choices, never feeling like a gimmick thanks to its witty text, lighting and sound design. It keeps its audience guessing, laughing, and even at one point, singing, a triumph of concept and execution. It’s something different, but it’s also something else.

Work.txt plays until August 28th (not Mondays) at the Summerhall Old Lab, and tickets can be found at

Reviewer: Oliver Giggins

Reviewed: 12th August 2022

North West End UK Rating: ★★★★★