Pros: Thought-provoking story, engaging script and excellent performance.
Cons: Occasionally, it was difficult to understand some of what was being said.
Darryl Evans is described as ‘. . . a disillusioned former employee of a Steel Manufacturing Company.’ Having been made redundant from the place he had worked since he was 16, he is finding life on the dole difficult. His interaction with others is limited to the employment office, his local pub, and the unannounced visits he receives from the well-meaning elderly lady upstairs, who keeps walking through his unlocked door to check that everything is OK.
The letters of rejection Darryl receives from his job applications had a definite ring of authenticity about them. The point was not laboured, but we were left with the feeling of him being on a downward spiral as far as future employment is concerned. It’s not all bad though: at one of the interviews he did meet Jackie, future girlfriend and unwitting provider of the sparkly dress that becomes an unexpected comfort to him.
Darryl relates an emotional journey through boredom and feelings of inadequacy, during which we learn that he has a bit of a thing for Dolly Parton, even down to knowing which shade of lipstick she uses. Experimenting with cross-dressing leads to him feeling more comfortable within himself, despite having to overcome long-held prejudices. Be prepared for a very poignant moment of destruction towards the end though.
The subject matter was dealt with sympathetically and with humour throughout the piece. Jake Cornford gave an excellent performance, although – possibly as a result of nerves – there were times when his very fast delivery made it difficult to understand some of what he was saying. I am not sure which image will stay with me longest, the continual scratching of the belly under a questionable grey vest, or him squeezing into the tight sparkly outfit. It’s a close call.
Written and Directed by: Rhys John Edwards
Story by: Jake Cornford
Performed by: Jake Cornford
Booking Information: This show has now completed its run at RADA Festival (but will be transferring to Cardiff later this year and Edinburgh next near).