Three office cleaners and a bully of a boss got a well-deserved standing ovation from an appreciative Eyemouth audience last week.
The cast of Dirty Dusting, Maureen Gillie, Lilian Smith, May Jappy and Kenny Combe did justice to the comedy based in a Newcastle city centre office, expertly delivering one innuendo-laden one-liner after another to the audience who enjoyed every smutty last joke.
Faced with being thrown on the employment scrap heap – because of their age, and possibly because they weren’t very good cleaners – Elsie (Maureen Gillie) and Gladys (Lilian Smith) were persuaded by colleague and former Guide leader Olive (May Jappy) to take the opportunity of earning themselves some extra cash by running a sex chat line.
Olive used her Guide leader skills to organise how they could get away with it by using the office phones over the weekend. Irony and a touch of cynicism about men led Elsie to take a leading role in teaching the others how to chat to their clients.
A nervous Gladys, however, needed some persuasion and a considerable amount of sherry to pick up the phone but the keen am dram fan found that once dressed in her on-stage costume her inner ‘Madonna’ came out and her inhibitions disappeared.
The Telephone Babes – Marilyn, Madonna and Kylie – were soon in their element fielding calls from men, the audience doing a very good job of working out the content of the one-sided telephone conversations!
Subtlety was never going to be a key component of the Dirty Dusting script, penned by two north east-based journalists Ed Waugh and Trevor Wood, and sure enough as the Telephone Babes’ busy weekend progressed they discovered that one of their clients was non other than dastardly Dave – their boss.
If I had one criticism of the script it would be just how overtly offensive Dave was to his staff - to the point where it jarred rather than amused but the majority of the audience took it in their stride and just booed him instead of taking offence.
Throughout the Radio Girls – Yvonne Combe, Dawn Matthews, Karen Short and Carly Robertson – provided musical interludes complete with aprons, feather dusters and some non-cleaner like choreography.
Strong performances from the four main cast members, who handled the demanding script like professionals, made Dirty Dusting the perfect choice for Eyemouth Variety Group to celebrate its 30th anniversary of bringing pantomimes, musicals and plays to the town.
For original cast member Maureen Gillie it was a time to reflect: “To be able to provide a night of entertainment, in whatever shape or form, is a great privilege.”