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Divas, Dogs and Derby Day
The Mission Theatre

Divas, Dogs and Derby Day which opened at The Mission Theatre Bath on Monday 20th May is billed by its promoters as an “evening of comedy”. There are a few moments of wit in the three short plays by writers Di King, Elaine Miles and Tim R Harris, but no more than that. Indeed, there were protracted periods which simply weren’t funny.

What Do We Do About Mrs Thing by Di King which opened the evening is a satire on the world of theatre. In the end, however, it is difficult to see whether the main focus of the play is the vanity of aspiring actors and writers or the tyranny of tradition which requires Mrs Thing to perform in every production. This play would benefit from significant editing and a review of its real focus.

Dog Day Afternoon begins in a park where a small group of dog-walkers reveal their competitiveness through their personal attachment to animals on to which they have projected their own personalities. Whilst the idea is a good one and there are some mildly amusing moments, it is dropped in the second half when the focus changes to a cursory exploration of the theme of loss. It was only an excellent performance by Clare Reddaway which held the disparate pieces together.

Derby Day by Tim R Harris is less a play and more three comedy sketches linked by a common situation. There were terrific performances from Darian Nelson and Sophie Brooks but these could not disguise the thinness, nor the chauvinism of the material. The humour, which reminded me of one of a 1970’s Benny Hill script, is full of smutty innuendo. Moreover, the three female characters are afforded no other purpose than to look decorative and act as foils for the revelation of their male partners’ sexual, criminal and drinking exploits.

In the end this was an inoffensive evening of theatre; mildly amusing at times but as comedy too bland and derivative for my taste. It runs at Grittleton Village Hall until Friday 24th May.

** – 2 Stars
Sue Gordon