When Marlin finds a bill for a hotel room and a hefty bar tab tucked into an expenses folder she’s instantly suspicious. Probing deeper into the company’s finances, she discovers that the receipts are really just the tip of an iceberg of corruption. You would be forgiven for assuming she’s a banker but she’s not: Marlin works for a high-profile charity, Transplants for Britain.
The 3rd Sector follows the young idealist, fresh from her gap year saving lives in Uganda, as she attempts to change the world for good. This proves to be a lot more difficult than you might expect and helping people and keeping her dream job soon begin to appear mutually exclusive in a workplace where they don’t take too kindly to whistleblowing or standing up for what you believe in.
Familiar office characters are wheeled out in force and while some of them are nothing more than bland stereotypes Toby Manley’s Josh, a smarmy, wisecracking media and communications manager, is a well-observed and surprisingly loveable character with some strong one-liners. Another treat is Rachel Stubbings as Eve, a determined professional worn callous by years at Transplants for Britain. Behind the charity’s shiny corporate exterior and ’80s pop star front man, Transplants for Britain is full to the brim with fraud. As The 3rd Sector exposes the workings of the capitalist charity it questions everything we think we know about the voluntary sector. It’s difficult to tell just how serious the play is but it would certainly be disastrous if The 3rd Sector‘s promise that it is inspired by real life events turned out to be true.
The cracks in direction and set design are papered over by the snappy dialogue of Paolo Chianta’s script which frequently tosses out surprises to liven up the production’s more pedestrian scenes. The plot is hardly groundbreaking but The 3rd Sector is an interesting show that dregs up some really meaty ethical debates.
The 3rd Sector is at Pleasance Courtyard (Venue 33) until 25 August as part of the Edinburgh Fringe. For more information and tickets see the Edinburgh Fringe website.