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Dolls and Guys (Susan Elkin reviews)


Society: London (professional shows)

Venue: Bridge House Theatre. Bridge House, 2 High Street, London SE20 8RZ

Credits: By Sabean Bea and Alanna Flynn. Directed by Julia Sudzinsky.



3 stars

Susan Elkin

Photo: Courtesy of Dolls and Guys.

The seven hander, sixty-minute play has toured before and this revival is a good fit for the intimacy of The Bridge House. Moreover it was good to see the house almost full. There is some interesting work coming through this venue and I’m glad that word is evidently getting out.

Dolls and Guys is a quirky, surreal, but pretty telling exploration of the dating app world and the fine line between some aspects of it and the sex industry. We’re in a futuristic toyshop in which five humanoid dolls are on sale. When a customer appears, they freeze as dolls. At other times they chat, joke, dance, bitch, worry and reminisce as five very different women thrown together probably would. One by one they are purchased but always returned to the shop because, in some way, they fail to please.

It’s a good idea for a play but it’s a bit choppy with two many short scenes. It feels like work in progress and maybe it is. There are storylines which are underdeveloped. I was desperate, for instance, to know what had really happened to Lucy (Violet Verigo) who is repeatedly returned to the shop because she has broken. Then, oddly, in the last ten minutes, which is arguably the best bit of the show, we seem suddenly to be in a completely different play as Sabean Bea as Juliet and Dorothea Jones as Billie share  heartbreaking memories of their schooldays and growing up.

Dolls and Guys showcases some good acting, however. Jones has riveting intensity and Kerry Boyne is perfect as Soraya whose attention grabbing, flaunting self confidence masks a lot of vulnerability. Nicholas Pople (excellent voice work) plays a whole series of customers and Alex Akindeji is naturalistically convincing as the shopkeeper.


Author information
Susan Elkin Susan Elkin is an education journalist, author and former secondary teacher of English. She was Education and Training Editor at The Stage from 2005 - 2016
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