ACT Theatre Reviews 2021-2022

THE STEAMIE by John Roper Directed by Joanne Shepherd Blackburn Drama Club As always, I received a warm welcome from Paddy, Jackie and the team at Blackburn Drama Club. I have never heard of or seen this play performed, so I had no preconceived ideas about the play itself – aside from an apprehension as to how the team would deliver authentic Glaswegian accents (my mum is Glaswegian) and about how a male playwright would choose to write about and represent the women of his generation. As we walked into the theatre the scene was set with the characters already in the auditorium waiting to go into ‘The Steamie’, chatting and gossiping. The set was fantastic, with a door stage right to ‘The wringers’ and four washing booths with sinks. The costumes and props were all authentic, with the actors in headscarves and their Silver Cross prams to transport their washing; taking us right back to the ‘50s. The Steamie, set in 1950s Glasgow, takes place on Hogmanay. Four women from contrasting walks of life have arrived to do the last laundry of the year at The Steamie. In this intimate comedy, there was no major storyline to cling on to, and no protagonist to steer us through the narrative – we, as an audience, rely solely on the skill and competence of the acting and directing. This formula provided us with a slice of life in Glasgow and a brief snapshot in time. As the play started, there were some obvious stumbles over lines and first night nerves. The dialogue was spoken very quickly, with lots of overlaps which meant that, unfortunately, some jokes were lost - particularly in the opening section. I understand it is a very fast-paced accent, but the speed and lack of diction meant some of the lines got thrown away and didn’t carry on stage. That said, my ear tuned in a bit as the evening progressed. Jenny Hodkinson gave a convincing and assured performance as