3 Min Read

Empowered Goblins Rule the Roost: Bright & Bold: Memoirs of a Desk Goblin

Dureshawar Khan has made her return to The Blue Room Theatre and has done so in Glorious Goblin form with their latest production, Bright & Bold: Memoirs of a Desk Goblin.

A tattoo station, light up ‘tattoo’ sign and a stool effectively establishes the tattoo shop setting and a big, beautiful, green goblin head hangs in the corner. Dressed in fitting pin-up style, Dureshawar bursts onto the stage and immediately gets the audience on side with her warm charisma and charm. It’s hard not to look at the amazing collection of tattoos that cover her legs and arms.

Bright & Bold: Memoirs of a Desk Goblin. Photography by Mustafa Al Mahdi.

Using a similar style to stand-up comedy, Dureshawar weaves stories of her time as a Desk Goblin, otherwise known as a tattoo receptionist/studio boss, with history lessons about tattoos and those who have shaped the industry we see today.

We start at the beginning learning about Dureshawar and how she came to hold the mighty title of Desk Goblin and her first experiences within the tattoo world. With great segues we move into mini seminars teaching little-known facts that cover feminist tattoo history.

These short and sweet lessons left me with a whole new appreciation of the tattoo scene. Dureshawar highlights the efforts of women and queer people in creating a safer (definitely more hygienic!) and more inclusive industry. Additionally, these lessons and stories are accompanied by relevant photos and delightful digital illustrations drawn by Dureshawar herself projected onto the back of the stage.

Bright & Bold: Memoirs of a Desk Goblin. Photography by Mustafa Al Mahdi.

While many of her lessons covered recent history, Dureshawar acknowledges the relationship that cultures across the globe have had with tattoos throughout time. It strikes me how differently our society views tattoos now, mostly in a negative light, contradicting their previous cultural significance. This naturally moves into conversation around tattoos in the workplace and the common, and untrue, perception that people with them lack professionalism.

On paper it sounds like Dureshawar covers a lot in this 75-minute show and although that is the case, it doesn’t feel overwhelming or like we’re being crammed with information. The dialogue flows like a friend chatting to you about the random facts they’ve learnt online or telling you a fascinating story from their life.

Bright & Bold: Memoirs of a Desk Goblin. Photography by Mustafa Al Mahdi.

While the content and tone of Bright & Bold Memoir of a Desk Goblin is different to Dureshawar’s last Blue Room production MoR, she has a signature style that is evident in both. This style sees Dureshawar use their own life experiences as a basis for these works, resulting in intimate and engaging storytelling that uses short anecdotes to give audiences a varied perspective on one facet of her life. The continuation of this style can also be attributed to the ongoing collaboration between Dureshawar and Director Susie Conte who adds shine to these works and stays true to their intent.

Tattoos or no tattoos, this show will be a hit for those who love history, stories of self-expression, self-determination and of course empowered GOBLINS! And with that being said don’t miss out before the books are closed! Bright & Bold: Memoirs of a Desk Goblin runs at the Blue Room Theatre until Feb 11.