PREVIEW DISCLAIMER: The Thrill of Love invites the critics in tomorrow.
So the peroxide-blonde Ruth (Faye Castelow,) modelling herself after Hollywood stars but with more modest ambitions, finds support from Sylvia Shaw (Hilary Tones,) manageress of the Court club where she initially finds work, and a more fickle kind of friendship from her fame-hungry colleague Vickie Martin (Maya Wasowicz.) But her most loyal supporter will turn out to be char lady Doris, with Katie West's performance providing the heart of the piece.
Unfortunately melodrama has never been a genre to appeal to me, and Whittington's play most definitely plays out in this style. I also found something very stilted to her dialogue, which infects the performance style of James Dacre's production: Though there's a couple of standout lines, overall there's a feeling of period drama pastiche rather than something that rings true. The setting of seedy, smoky 1950s private clubs with crackly Billie Holiday records playing in the background has the potential for something very atmospheric that Dacre doesn't quite pull off, and the play never really seems to get to the heart of the story and its doomed leading lady.
The Thrill of Love by Amanda Whittington is booking until the 4th of May at the St James Theatre.
Running time: 1 hour 35 minutes straight through.