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It has been well cast, with each one playing their role very convincingly. The star without doubt is Jenny Eclair, who plays Josie, a woman who lives off men and has a large sexual appetite. She hates being poor and hates working, so she tries to find men who will look after her, unfortunately her latest boyfriend beats her up. Also superb is Julie T. Wallace as Dawn, a fat, ugly and mentally impeded woman who lives with her strict and protective mother, Mrs Meadow, played by the talented Sheila Reid. The rest of the cast are equally good: Diane Langton as Violet, a kind, caring woman who has been running the baths for 18 years. Lynne Miller, as Nancy, whose husband has left her after 15 years of marriage and Catherine Shipton , as Jane, a friend of Nancy.

The set by Robin Don is superb. The whole stage has been converted into an interior of a Turkish bath. It looks very realistic, particularly when the women undress. So be warned there is a lot of full frontal nudity.

As I said, this comedy play could have been much better, not because the acting was poor, but simply because the script never gives the characters enough depth. Also, the comedy could have been a lot sharper. Nevertheless, it is still a pleasant play with some touching moments.

BENEDICT NIGHTINGALE of THE TIMES, finds the play charming, but like me believes it lacks something, he says, "I would not wish it shriller or more ideological. All the same, something is missing. Abrasiveness? Toughmindedness?" NICHOLAS DE JONGH of THE EVENING STANDARD, is not impressed with the play, he says " But the smooth lines of Brown's atmospheric production cannot hide the irony that Steaming, despite its nudity, really has nothing of interest to reveal."

'Steaming' is booking to October, however, it's unlikely to run that long. The theatre was half empty and for a Friday night that is not good. Frankly, I think it will only be open for a few weeks which is a pity, so if you want to see it you had better be quick.

(Darren Dalglish)

Originally published on

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