Saturday, November 26, 2022

Theatre Royal: Dirty Dusting

It’s hard to argue with a big audience that responds with cheers, jeers, screams and howls of laughter that starts right at the announcements. A Joe Dolan intro of “Good Lookin’ Woman” has the sisterhood belting it out like half-a-dozen camogie teams in the shower after the first match of the championship.

There’s a real girls-night-out feel to the evening and there’s no doubt that Dirty Dusting provides full value for the ticket with a raucous comedy that’s full of double-meaning and pretty crude comments about their sexual gymnastics – real or imagined.

Elsie (Mary Byrne of X-Factor fame), Olive (Nicole Banim Butler) and Peggy (Linda McCarthy) are cleaners who have just been given their P45s from obnoxious boss Dave (Jake Carter) and they’re fairly urinated off. The manner of their curt dismissal makes the insult even worse as the Jurassic Trio are told that they’re making way for younger staff.

Revenge is clearly on the matt and when a wrong number turns out to be a sex-line enquiry, the girls plot a path to instant riches by setting up their own sex-lines as part of their active retirement plan. It’s the cue for dodgy calls with the most salacious of enquiries featuring hamsters, Mars bars and a hoover bringing cheers, applause and howls of laughter.

The pensioners description of themselves to their gullible callers make for hilarious listening as they string gullible customers along, who are more than willing to part with their credit card details. The fact that the north-of-sixty trio of call-girls are so willing to engage brings raucous laughter from the house. The “Telephone Belles” bounce and mispronounce malapropisms, like ‘organisms’ and ‘M&S’, around like ping-pong balls and expand on the tasty delights of raspberry, lemon and sherbet surprise condoms.

It’s a bag-a-gag routine as every punchline is delivered with one foot on the piano. The delivery brings me back to Seventies Tops of the Town where every gesture is over-exaggerated and punched as the comics look to the audience for the response. A chain of butcher’s shops and a Denny’s factory would struggle to provide as much ham. Lines are pretty secure but, when things go wrong (much to the audience’s delight), the actors are well up for it as they make comedy out of mishap.

In the end the girls find sexual liberation, pull in some €1,600 and obnoxious David gets his comeuppance courtesy of a mishap with a Hoover. No… don’t ask! And it all ends up in a song with the gals in pink sequins and a Boa – including Dasher Dave.

The all-female audience — I counted five men! – loved it and roared their approval in what was really a gigantic hen-party in high form!

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