Dames is the first play to be developed by Siberian Lights, a company created to give women a voice in theatre. Dames has the subtitle, ‘a raucous revelation of the female underworld’ and it certainly delivers on that promise. Entering the theatre is like coming into a nightclub with loud music, disco balls and glitter covering the stage around a fluffy white carpet and a golden throne beneath a metal pyramid.
The setting is the ladies toilet in a club at two o’clock on a Friday morning. Six women, all worse for wear, collide in this confined space and the result is a lewd, rude, honest glimpse into what happens behind the toilet door.
Charlotte Merriam has created six very different characters and thrown them together to see what happens and it feels like we’re finding out with her. Merriam plays Erin, out with her best friend Bianca (Olivia Elsden), reunited in the toilets after a brief flirtation with a boy on the dancefloor. Bianca has met Emily (Ellie Heydon) who fancies her, but does she fancy her back? Enter tall, thin, glamorous Kate (Arabella Neale) to challenge Bianca’s top dog status. Ginny (Bianca Stephens) and her mate Cardiff (Melanie Stevens) watch from the sidelines, commenting on the action for the audience, resetting and replaying the parts they don’t like.
This is a loud, high energy show. If you’ve ever been in a nightclub toilet at 2am, this will feel very familiar. If you haven’t, you’re in for a slightly baffling but nevertheless entertaining hour.
Reviewed by Rhiannon Evans
Photo: Scott Rylander