Dirty Dusting

It’s called Dirty Dusting, but three nannas who make sexual innuendos and think the word bastard is sinful blasphemy is nothing but good clean fun.

 Ellis Productions and The Whitehorse CentreQUT Gardens Theatre, Brisbane Monday, 29 March, 2010 It’s called Dirty Dusting, but three nannas who make sexual innuendos and think the word bastard is sinful blasphemy is nothing but good clean fun. The unsurprising and clichéd production is a little bit naughty, but mostly harmless entertainment from three of Australia’s favourite actresses. When Elsie, Olive and Gladys face redundancy from their long-time cleaning jobs because of their mature age, they start a telephone sex service called ‘The Telephone Belles’. On company time, these three older ladies take to the phones to fulfil the needs of hamster-loving, vacuum-using and role-play-adoring men! They’ve got to make money somehow, right? Everything goes rather smoothly until Elsie’s 22-year-old grandson calls to speak to Madonna, a.k.a. Gladys. 
Amid these risqué revelations they are dealing with their unsuspecting ageist boss, who continually taunts them about their nearing redundancy.  Nobody likes the thought of their nanna talking to strangers about thigh-high boots and sequined thongs, but the teenagers at opening night were satisfied customers, laughing at all the cringe-worthy lines. However, the light entertainment wasn’t enough to please all, and the predictability made it rather boring in parts. The characters were lovable and authentic, and enjoyably varied from each another. Maggie King played the confident Elsie; comfortable in her skin and the most natural phone-sex servicer of the three. When asked “What are you wearing?” she confidently replied “a red lace bodice with bum touching fluoro-green boots!”. Olive, played by Anne Phelan, scout leader for 20-years, was horrified by Elsie’s lack of colour co-ordination. Master-mind behind the scheme, Olive took charge and encouraged shy Gladys, played by Joan Sydney, to come out of her shell. Little did she know that Gladys taking kinky phone calls from strangers would reignite her sex life at home with her pigeon-obsessed husband!
As always at Gardens Theatre, the set was fantastic. This is impressive considering most shows performed there are travelling acts. The office setting looked professional and provided a bright, warm atmosphere for the story. The only downfall from where I was sitting was a blinding reflection on one of the laptop screens. This was annoying and distracting. I think 2010 calls for a bit more scandal and wicked behaviour from these dirty dusters to please a modern audience. Its light-hearted nature was too corny for me. But the laughing group of teenagers sitting in last night’s audience challenged this opinion. Season Closed

Anne-Marie Peard

Anne-Marie spent many years working with amazing artists at arts festivals all over Australia. She's been a freelance arts writer for the last 10 years and teaches journalism at Monash University.

Anne-Marie Peard

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