A Girl's Night Out

  • Date:
    Tuesday, March 10, 1998

    The story concerns a group of four women who go on a 'Girl's Night Out' to a strip show. However, when they get there they are in for quite a few surprises!

    The show is directed and choreographed by Carole Todd whose other West End credits include 'Elvis The Musical', 'Ferry cross The Mersey' and the recent 'Wild Oats' at the National.

    Having read the bad reviews by the popular press I was not looking forward to seeing this show with any kind of zest. However, I was to be pleasantly surprised by how good the show was. This again is proof that you should not always go by what the critics have to say! I found this show very funny and entertaining even if you never quite get to see 'The Full Monty'! In other words, the strippers never reveal 'all', just their bottoms. This I find quite strange considering I have seen so much 'Full Frontal' on stage in the most unexpected circumstances. Yet in a show where you would expect it, you don't see it! Perhaps there is some bylaw that does not allow striptease artists to reveal all on a theatrical stage?

    This show has been splendidly cast, particularly the women. Diana Davies (UK people may know her as Mrs Bates in Emmerdale Farm) is brilliant as 'Ivy', a middle aged woman married for 29 years but who had always faked her orgasms until she started an affair a year ago! She looks just like Lilly Savage with her wig that seems alive, and her 'chicken walk'. She also has great comic timing that is a treat to watch. Nicola Jeanne is superb as 'Nicola', a 21 year old woman whose been courting 'Ivy's son 'Tony' for 6 years and engaged to him for the last 3 years. However, since their engagement she will no longer have sex with Tony until they are married and she won't get married until they have saved up enough money. In the meantime 'Nicola' has been bargain hunting for furniture for the house they intend to buy and this has become an obsession with her. Now they cannot find a house with a kitchen big enough to support the 'fitted kitchen' she has already purchased at half price! The other two girls, Christine Parle as 'Jane', a pregnant young girl on her hen night, and Sherry Ormerod as Jane's sister 'Sarah' are not as funny, but they compliment the scenes wonderfully.

    The strippers look like your every day men and are not exactly 'drop dead gorgeous' but they are a laugh. Damien Child is very funny as 'Tony', a frustrated young man engaged to 'Nicola'. He believes that his life has become boring and so answers an advertisement for a stripper. He gets the job, but he doesn't tell his mother 'Ivy', or 'Nicola' about it. There are some hilarious scenes as he practices for his first striptease performance. The other strippers Michael Magnet as 'Darren', a womaniser, Mark Prentice as 'Phil', the quiet one and ' Mat Healy as ' Robbie', a closet gay, are not as funny , but they are as good as their characters will allow.

    The auditorium is about 90 percent female and I must admit to feeling a little uncomfortable because of this, but do not let this deter men from seeing the show as it is very funny. Women (and some men!) will love it for both the comedy and the strippers.

    The show has received bad notices from the popular press. SARA ABDULLA of TIME OUT recommends you see the film "The Full Monty" instead. KATHLEEN HERRON of THE SUNDAY TIMES described it has "Hackneyed material, Trite, puerile, crass, crude.." and so on! BILL HAGERTY of THE NEWS OF THE WORLD says the show " Doesn't raise many laughs". NICHOLAS DE JONGH of the EVENING STANDARD says, " This down-lifting, bottom-flashing load of theatrical nonsense is all tat and not much titillation." However, CHARLES SPENCER of THE DAILY TELEGRAPH is not as hard as the other reviewers, he says, "Though Girls' Night Out is incompetent, it is impossible to dislike. The warmth is genuine, the strip routines are entertaining. "

    Dave Simpson has written a funny and smutty script with many hilarious scenes and one liners. The show loses its way after the interval, particularly as the main strip show fails to live up to expectations and is a little repetitive, but overall it is still fun.

    (Darren Dalglish)

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