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Dirty Dusting (South Shields)

Rating: 3 out of 5 stars
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Three senior citizens prove in this comedy that you can still have fun at any old age.

With the threat of their jobs being taken by younger models, three office cleaners, with a combined age nearing 250, take inspiration from a wrong number to set up their own telephone sex line and re-brand themselves the Telephone Belles for one weekend only.

Elsie (Gwen Doran), Gladys (Jean Southern) and Olive (Helen Russell) collaborate to top up their pension pot and go about entertaining their gentleman callers with witty chat from racy costumes and furry animals to appliance appendages.

Doran leads the trio with her confident and bold Elsie whilst Southern gradually brings out Gladys’ brassy nature. Russell as Olive proves a prim and proper exterior is not always what’s lurking on the inside.

Customs House regular Bob Stott takes on the role of the ’Belles’s boss, Dave Smith, who struggles to control his three aging employees, ridiculed for being a mummy’s boy and what else they learn about him as the ’Belles’s weekend draws to a close.

Ed Waugh and Trevor Wood’s script can be played out in its original Geordie format with some topical gags thrown in to keep the content fresh. Granted, some jokes are predictable and can be seen coming before the punch line is delivered but the audience don’t seem to mind and the laughter rolls out throughout the whole performance.

In the final half hour, Dirty Dusting comes to life in hilarious style as the identity of their final caller is revealed with explosive consequences.

With its message that those over the pension-able age shouldn’t written off, this show will continue to amuse audiences for years to come.


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