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Slippery When Wet review

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Yesterday I was back at the fantastic Barons Court Theatre in West London for Slippery When Wet: a new play by Leanne Devlin. Devlin is one of the final acts before the theatre’s new writing festival starts on Tuesday and on the recommendation of the media team, I happily squeezed in a visit to see the writer and performer in action ahead of Reboot. Billed as a story about finding love in the most unexpected of places, it was the title ‘Slippery When Wet’ that left me most intrigued; honestly, how could you not be with a name like that? I had no idea what to expect from this new comedy play which has been directed by Emma Copland and this collaboration between the creatives did not disappoint.

Slippery When Wet leaflet in front of the poster at Barons Court Theatre, London

About Slippery When Wet

A one-person show told from the perspective of a theatre school graduate turned supermarket cleaner, Slippery When Wet can only be described as an unfiltered insight into an unattached twenty something’s mind. An adults only comedy that features lots of dark and crude humour as well as some very reflective monologues, Devlin’s work is both incredibly relatable and so shocking that you won’t believe she just said these things in public. The material is unapologetic in its perspective on modern dating and getting started in your career, told through extremely vivid metaphors and vulgar personal anecdotes.

There is a lot of profanity which adds to both the hilarity of the play and the honesty of it all, but I can appreciate this might be too much for some viewers. In places I was a little uncomfortable by how daring the work is, but after getting over the initial shock, I could appreciate the decision to be so fearless in the writing style. Towards the end of the show we were given an insight into the wider meaning of the work, but the material ended somewhat abruptly which was a little disappointing. It would have been brilliant to see more time dedicated to Devlin’s closing statements as they are incredibly thought-provoking and worthy of more stage time. 

A character with no filter

The character Devlin plays is that friend we all have with no filter, always sharing exactly what is on their mind, no matter how graphic the content is. In places it is innuendo heavy and too bold for my theatrical taste, but you have to commend the writer’s sense of creativity, turning some of the most outrageous remarks about the reproductive organs into deeply funny anecdotes.

Slippery When Wet production photo
© Slippery When Wet

Rollercoaster of emotions

I experienced several emotions watching the play, largely influenced by the sheer number of personalities conveyed on stage. Devlin’s character is a lovestruck colleague, drama queen, life of the party, over-sharer and insecure graduate all within an hour. At one point I was laughing hysterically and then in the next scene I was nodding and thinking that we’ve all been there. It is a lot to digest as a member of the audience, partly as a result of Devlin’s high energy performance style, but one thing is certain, her captivating performance skills keep the play interesting. The scenes where Devlin portrays a drama queen and exaggerates every emotion are where the show’s strengths lie. She has really mastered the art of dramatic storytelling.

Lighting, set design and props

I was impressed by the clever lighting effects within the show and use of props. The play is full-on and the lighting effects offer the audience visual respite between the scenes, ultimately reducing the overall intensity and speed of the work. In a one-person show the spotlight is quite literally on the performer for the entire time; it was great to see the lighting take on several different forms based on the mood of the piece.

A mop and bucket are used extensively throughout, not just in the scenario of illustrating the performer’s current employment. Devlin perches on the bucket and dances with the mop, recreating scenes with her work colleagues. She uses the mop as a platform for navigating between different personalities and it’s a clever and natural way to approach the character switching.

Slippery When Wet leaflet outside Barons Court Theatre, London

Sound effects and design

Regarding the sound effects, at first I struggled to understand the significance of the phone beeps as the dialogue didn’t always acknowledge or respond to the notification sounds. With time the use of sound strengthened though, particularly within the context of messaging a colleague she is interested in dating.

Later in the play, disco, seaside and spa music are used to add context to the storyline. Whilst the material can be easily understood without this, I thought the backing music added to the overall humour of the work. I couldn’t help but laugh at the spa music in particular and how awkward it can be for people who don’t visit spas or beauty salons regularly.

Slippery When Wet production photo
© Slippery When Wet

Final thoughts

An outrageously funny and transparent piece of new writing, Slippery When Wet won’t be for everyone given its uncensored approach to romance, but I found it refreshing. Devlin’s theatrical voice deserves wider recognition and Copland accentuates the performer’s strengths in her clever directing. The comedy play is based at Barons Court Theatre until Saturday, before heading out on tour to Dublin and Belfast. I look forward to hearing more about Devlin’s work in the future, as she is extremely creative and naturally funny.

Thanks for reading my blog today.

Love Kat xxxx

*My ticket for Slippery When Wet was gifted in exchange for a review.



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