DIRTY DATING.COM Epstein Theatre; Review

Article excerpt

Byline: Lorna Hughes

TV'S Frasier called it "all the stress and humiliation of a blind date, times twelve".

Yes it's speed dating, and at Henry's bar, three women (plus barmaid Vicky) nervously await their dates.

They quickly (perhaps a little too quickly) become firm friends and the play follows their romantic trials and tribulations - and the thoughts of ageing bar owner Henry (Phil Hearne), set against a sparse blue backdrop and neon bar sign.

Dirty Dating.com is based on writer Pauline Fleming's real-life experiences of dating. Its origins show, and at its best the play is like having a chat with one of your best friends.

The exchanges between Vicky, Jackie, Sarah and Tracy are frank and funny and the oddities of the various men they meet feel worryingly true to life.

But the script disappointingly shies away from developing the relationships between the women in favour of interspersing the action with numerous monologues, giving each character a chance to talk to the audience.

The stories are moving and convincing - timid Sarah (singer Nicki French) still loves her abusive ex-partner; cynical mature student and divorcee Tracy (Jo Mousley) is stunned to be single in her 40s - yet somehow the mix never quite satisfies. …