Slippery When Wet – Bewley’s Café Theatre, Dublin

Reviewer: Louise Tallon

Writer: Leanne Devlin

Director: Emma Copland

Bewley’s Café Theatre presents the winner of their own ‘Little Gem Award’ from last year’s Dublin Fringe Festival. Slippery When Wet is a hilarious foray into the highs and lows of dating and unrequited love in the age of Instagram and Snapchat.

Leanne Devlin has gumption. When three years of drama training and talent are “never enough” to sway casting directors and secure parts, the Donegal native takes to writing, and touring with, her own plays; One Step Forward, Two Steps Back and today’s one woman show.

After 23 rejections following 23 auditions, Elle, 5’5”, turns up for her “glamorous new job” as a cleaner with a red tunic over her polo shirt, slim fitting black trousers and trainers. The tools of her trade include blue roll, rubber gloves, a mop, bucket and the yellow ‘caution wet floor’ sign that speaks to the uniquely pithy title of the piece. Props are cleverly utilised by director Emma Copland. The mop is a dance partner and facilitates movement around the stage, the upturned bucket becomes an occasional stool and the finger of a latex glove makes the lurid suggestion of a contraceptive.

Thoroughly dejected at having to eschew the bright lights of fame for living back home and working “minimum wage, 40 hours a week”, Elle is euphoric when 5’8” ‘Love’ with “sea green eyes” walks into her aisle. She takes to “pursuing ‘Love’ like an Avon rep”.

What ensues is a rollercoaster of failures – “I lick his face”/ “silly bitchyitis”, and successes – “home on cloud 10”/ “stolen glances, sneaky kisses”. Devlin’s highly energetic and seriously funny antics, especially in the spa scene – “exposes my womanhood under bright yellow lights”, provoke guffaws of laughter in the room. There is a high level of swearing and profanity at times but judging from the reactions of the lovely older Ladies sitting either side of me, it doesn’t detract.

We meet other characters along the way including Elle’s mother – “Have you eaten? Where’s your coat? When was your last bowel movement?” and traitor Chloe with her “simpering snigger”.

While there is much hilarity, we hold our collective breaths when Elle treads water in the sea after a disastrous night out – “The sea accepts me. The sea likes me the way I am. I feel free. No expectations. No Judgements.” The lines speak for themselves.

Bewley’s Café Theatre were correct in their decision making, this truly is a gem of a play. Colm Maher is skillful in creating the required changes in atmosphere with lighting and the mood with sound. To write well is one thing but to write good comedy is a whole other mountain to climb. Devlin achieves both in Slippery When Wet and gives an excellent performance to boot.

Runs Until April 27th 2024.

The Review's Hub Score

Genuinely hilarious!

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The Reviews Hub - Ireland

The Ireland team is currently under the editorship of Laura Marriott. The Reviews Hub was set up in 2007. Our mission is to provide the most in-depth, nationwide arts coverage online.

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