The Black Eye Club

Phil Charles

The Bread & Roses Theatre

From 01 November 2017 to 18 November 2017

Review by Keith Mckenna

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Dave (Christopher Sherwood) is a victim of his gay partner’s violence. It is late at night, his partner has locked him out of their joint bank account and he has no money.

A phone helpline recommends a refuge that is supposed to have a bed for a male, but it turns out that was when the council ran it. G4S has taken over and made it women only.

As he waits for the concierge Sharon (Cathryn Sherman) to phone round for a bed, one of the women staying at the refuge returns and tells him he can hide in her room for the night.

The difficulties facing male victims of domestic violence is just one of the serious issues touched on in this play.

But the politics take a back seat to the comic relationship of this improbable odd couple Dave and Zoe (Rebecca Pryle).

He is the reserved rather posh accountant. She describes herself as a “trolley dolly”.

Zoe has a lively personality and a tendency to use prejudiced terminology for gay people. Not that she means any harm by it.

Their night is a fun sleepover with her performing some of her favourite karaoke songs and him dodging under the bed or into the cupboard to avoid Sharon.

By the following day, they might not be the best of friends but their chance meeting has helped them both.

The play never digs much below the surface, its plot and dialogue seeming just a light situation comedy.

Occasionally, the dialogue can even discourage the audience from taking it seriously. When Sharon is faced with a bloody Dave, she is asked if she is trained in domestic violence. She replies, “no but I studied choke holds.”

That got a laugh though we didn’t believe anyone in that situation would have said it.

As we left the venue, one reviewer observed that it was, “a feelgood play about domestic violence.”

It could and should have been much more.