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  • Chris O'Rourke

Slippery When Wet

Leanne Devlin in Slippery When Wet. Image uncredited.


Incalculable odds or worrying trend? Two shows running simultaneously about young, wannabe actresses living their second best lives. Both obsessing about love, sex and personal worth who meet their drunken Waterloo after a work function. Both performed by actors named Leanne. The criminally brilliant Leanne Bickerdike in the gut punch that is Hate F%#k, and the Little Gem Award Winner (DFF 2023) Leanne Devlin in her one woman show Slippery When Wet. Both shows about twenty somethings oddly similar despite obvious differences. Even as their differences make for twins rather than identical twins. Devlin’s Slippery When Wet the likeable, well behaved child. The title referring less to a Bon Jovi album so much as the health and safety notice employed by cleaners. And perhaps to a well known sexual innuendo. Seeing as sex is never far from Devlin’s supermarket cleaner’s thoughts.

Essentially, Slippery When Wet follows the ready made play format. A tale of a solo someone having failed to make something happen due to some deep seated something they don’t know how to face. Who gets a second go at life after an embarrassing journey, some hard won insights and being told things they didn’t want to admit. Voila! They’re a brighter, shinier newer Netflix self. Which in Slippery When Wet leans into Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt territory. Devlin’s quirky, eccentric, innocent abroad talking bold thoughts like a good girl as she lusts after the bespectacled Love whilst cleaning up on aisle three. Working as a cleaner because it’s stable, she’s good at it and for reasons you need to go see it to find out. Seeing her life as over before its even begun, life happens as she waits around for her love life to happen. Her lack of agency making for a big ask which, when the transition moment comes at an after work party, makes for an even bigger ask so quickly is the change managed. But it’s always a new dawn, new day in the ready made universe, so happily ever after looms on the horizon.

Leanne Devlin in Slippery When Wet. Image uncredited.

One person shows are often developed for financial and practical reasons as much as creative ones. Yet too many solo shows sing the same type redemption song in the same manner. Even when, as with Slippery When Wet, there’s clearly talent at work, it all starts to look like something you’ve seen before. Yet the original reason for solo shows was to showcase new talent. In that regard Slippery When Wet succeeds brilliantly. Devlin’s actress come cleaner might set off more red flags than Putin’s birthday, with her self-inflicted self-pity, her yellow pack eroticism and her face licking tendencies. Devlin, however, is sure to win your heart. Showing the youthfulness of an angel and the playfulness of a devil, Devlin delivers a joyous performance. Emma Copland’s superb direction, employing mops and buckets to creative effect, ensures Devlin woos you at every turn. In theatre, the tale is only half the thing. Sometimes not even half. It’s more the telling. Slippery When Wet might not blow you away narratively despite its delicious treats, like vaginal waxing. But there’s real excitement to be had watching this exciting new talent flex some muscles.

Slippery When Wet, written and performed by Leanne Devlin, runs at Bewley’s Café Theatre until April 27

For more information visit Bewley’s Café Theatre


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