Friday, 16 October 2015

Dirty Dusting

Image Source: Dirty Dusting
Written By: Mark Armstrong

Format: Play
Genre: Comedy
Date: October 14 2015
Location: Epstein Theatre, Liverpool, England

When one sees the name "Dirty Dusting" for a theatre production, one's mind immediately wanders to Dirty Dancing and may consider how the two are related, whether it be the plot, the characters etc. As it turns out, though, there is no connection; Dirty Dusting means something very different.

Indeed, Dirty Dusting tells the story of three cleaners working in a factory: Elsie (Crissy Rock), Gladys (Leah Bell) and Olive (Dolores Porretta), who spend their evenings cleaning up the mess left behind by the employees. The cleaners are middle-aged and not exactly satisfied in their roles, yet they all realise that they have no other option at this point. However, things change when a message left behind by a bossy, rude manager (Lee Brannigan) implies that a new team of cleaners will be brought in, leaving the long-time staff to face termination.

As the three ladies consider their options, a chance phone call which mistakes the company office for an adult phone line gives them the idea to launch their own after-hours sex chat-up lines, based from the very office that they are cleaning. Their theory is that nobody will know that it is them nor that it is being based from the main office, because they are using alternative names and receiving calls on a bounce-back from unused phones in an upstairs part of the building, and if they make a good amount of money over that weekend, it will see them over in the time after they are forced to finish their cleaning roles.

Cue a large amount of sexual innuendo via the conversations held over the phone lines, and via the outfits and props being used by the ladies to motivate them when answering the calls. Mixed in with these are plenty of one-liners which keep the momentum going in each scene (the production as a whole is divided into four main parts, two pre-intermission and two post-intermission), and the fairly swift pace ensures that if you don't find one joke very funny, it won't take long to wait for another one to tickle your funny bone instead.

As for the climax? Well, let's just say that what seems like the impossible suddenly becomes possible, and I should also point out that you will want to stick around until the very end; there are one or two moments at the conclusion which may be something of a surprise.

Although Crissy Rock is the biggest name involved and delivers a suitable amount of laughs, it is Leah Bell who steals the show with a deliberately over-the-top technique to answering the phone calls, and what turns out to be a secretly raunchy personality when disclosing how her phone line experiences have suddenly improved her own sex life with equally middle-aged husband Billy (who we don't see). Dolores Porretta also delivers some laughs, albeit less regularly, and whilst Lee Brannigan comes across as unfunny if not too serious and trying too hard to act at the beginning, by the end you would not recognise his character, such are the sudden changes that we see in his personality towards the end.

Unquestionably, whether you enjoy Dirty Dusting or not depends on your personal tastes and your sense of humour. If sexual innuendo and somewhat adult-orientated visuals are not your thing, then you won't enjoy this show. If, on the other hand, you're more accepting of such elements, then you will probably get a real kick out of Dirty Dusting. To paraphrase a line from the aforementioned Dirty Dancing, you may not have the time of your life watching Dirty Dusting, but if it meets your sense of humour, then you will definitely have a good time.

Overall Rating: 7.5/10 - Good

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