National Operatic & Dramatic Association
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Dirty Dusting


2nd February 2018


Matchbox Theatre Company


Arts Centre, Washington

Type of Production



Val Martin


Author: Michelle Coulson

Dirty Dusting was written by Newcastle upon Tyne journalists Ed Waugh and Trevor Wood and was first performed in the Customs House in 2003. The story is based around 3 cleaners, Gladys, Elsie and Olive who are about to be “put out to pasture” by their office manager Dave. The ladies feel that they will have little chance of employment due to their age so after Olive answers a chance wrong number requiring a sex chat line, the idea is born that they create their own chat line outside of normal working hours. The results are a hilarious comedy which had the audience laughing out loud throughout.

The production had an open set comprising of a well-appointed office, everything looked authentic and was well placed to ensure that none of the action was missed. The 3 leading ladies were all portraying characters many years older than themselves and the makeup and wigs were very good, successfully transforming them into very mature ladies.

In the roles of Gladys, Elsie and Olive were Helen Wilson, Annette Morris and Jean Ord. The three ladies put a tremendous amount of work into learning what is essentially a three person play interspersed with a couple of cameo appearances of the “boss” Dave who was played by Calum Cameron. The conversations and retelling of the ladies experiences and family life (Little soldier!) were natural and well played with good timing so that none of the jokes were missed. Calum provided a good contrast of character as the obnoxious manager who got a bit of a shock when he borrowed the dodgy vacuum cleaner!

Congratulations to Val for putting together a super night’s entertainment and to the entire cast for an excellent portrayal; it was a pleasure to see their hard work rewarded by full houses.