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Women On the Verge of HRT (Tour - Salford)

Rating: 3 out of 5 stars
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Marie Jones’ play focuses on two women on the wrong side of 40 taking a trip to Donegal to see their idol, Daniel O’Donnell which turns in to an introspective look at their personal lives, their marriages - current and ex, sex lives or lack of and the dreaded menopause. With the help of a lovely young waiter, the two women embark on a voyage of self discovery and self realisation and come to terms with their own demons and lack of self confidence.

Vera (Louise Jameson) is the fiery divorcee whose husband has married a woman 25 years younger. She is forthright, bold and quite bitter and not afraid to share with the world just how she feels about her current status. Her friend Anna (Janet Dibley) is quite the opposite, much more shy and retiring but after some probing, confesses to being in a loveless and sexless marriage and stays with her husband because she does not want to be alone despite being unhappy and dissatisfied.  

After some girlish banter with the young waiter, Fergal (Aidan O’Neill) who amazingly sounds and looks a little like Daniel O’Donnell in which there are many good one liners and throw away comments although a little predictable in parts, the women go out to Donegal Bay with Fergal to learn more about themselves.

Act two sees O’Neill steal the show, transforming in to a variety of characters in the women’s lives to help them understand how they have arrived at this point in their lives. O’Neill’s portrayal of the younger wife, Anna’s husband and Vera’s husband amongst others has the audience in stitches and lifts this otherwise fairly predictable and average play.

The women in the audience on the verge of HRT certainly found the piece entertaining and perhaps at times very poignant. However as a piece of drama this is at best, run of the mill.

That the play remains an enjoyable experience is down to the Jameson, Dibley and O'Neil doing their best with the limited scope of the quite hackneyed and dated material.

-Ruth Lovett

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