Writer: Sharon Holland Taylor & Alison Pennels
Director: Andrea Turner
Reviewer: Esther Dyson
The Public Reviews Rating:
Dirty Laundry tells the story of two neighbours Peggy and Faith who meet up to hang their washing out. They live for nothing but the running of a perfect home and to criticise the other neighbours around them. Sharon Holland Taylor and Brenda Chapel play the two neighbours and a number of other characters that are introduced throughout the play. They are versatile actors and pull off these roles brilliantly, bringing to life some extremely funny and entertaining characters. The hairdresser in particular really made the audience laugh from start to finish during her scene.
Towards the end of the first act another neighbour Jean is introduced who has recovered from breast cancer and undergone reconstructive surgery. This is obviously a subject that has affected many people profoundly and it is dealt with in an extremely sensitive way with the right touch of humour. Jean’s experience has inspired her to appreciate life and to start living it to the full. Her new lease of life is helped by her taking up art classes where she finds she has a natural talent she never knew she had.
The majority of the costume changes are done on stage and this works well in most cases, one even receives a round of applause but a few are a bit distracting and would perhaps work better if done off stage instead.
The second act works to hammer home the message that life is precious and shouldn’t be wasted without making sure you really live it and to ensure you make time for the things you enjoy doing. This act is surprisingly very short and unfortunately it does let the play down a little, as you are left feeling as if the story is finished off in a rush. It probably wouldn’t have felt as disappointing if it had been done as a one act play. Despite this, the play still tugs at the heart strings and moves some of the audience to tears. It is packed with good humour from start to finish and a lot of the jokes were very current making them easy to relate to.
The Sheffield City Hall is a great venue for this performance, it is an intimate setting, the minimal stage and set enhance the whole nature of the play and performance.
All of the proceeds and any donations from this performance go to the St Helen’s Trust, a local charity which supports people to have the choice to be cared for and to die at home.
Dirty Laundry has an extremely well written script and boasts outstanding performances from both actors, an extremely good night’s entertainment for an extremely good cause.