Dirty Crusty promises the story of a woman (with personal hygiene issues) improving her life with sex, dance and reclaiming her dreams.
The show opens with a recorded conversation between Jeanine and her friends at a dinner party. Bizarrely we never meet these friends and they are not mentioned again throughout the show.
It then moves on to a musical number where the lead Jeanine encounters her love interest- Viktor. The action cuts between Jeanine having sex and Jeanine attending dance class.
There are no awkward dates or funny attempts to get to know someone- Jeanine and Viktor start having sex in the first 15 minutes of the two hour play. The dancing reveals more about Jeanine as a character. What she likes, what she wants, her playful nature and the things she wishes she had achieved, where as the sex often comes across as something acted upon her, at one point without her approval.
Her dance teacher- Synda asks Jeanine to perform in a recital.
This leads to a brilliant scene where Synda and Jeanine dance around the stage learning her routine for the recital stating what they’re doing, i.e. prancing across the stage saying “I am hunting, I am hunting”.
Jeanine will be playing the evil prince who attempts to rape a young girl. Although he doesn’t succeed in raping her he frightens her so much she dies from “heart problems” and fear. Leading Jeanine to ask:
“I don’t understand if she’s freaking out and having heart problems why don’t I back off?”
The skit feels like a good indictment of how rape is presented in ballet, plays, films and books which flood young womens consciousness. Synda runs around Jeanine saying “you will rape me, you will rape me” and “I will die, I will die”. It seems utterly ludicrous, but the storyline is not exceptionally different from police dramas on BBC4.
There is a beautiful piece of text about not giving up on dreams.
Jeanine talks of wanting to become a ballet dancer. She discusses how nice it would be to see an old lady ballet dancing- as it would remind the world that ballet can be beautiful despite not being technical perfect- it would be “ballet for the people”.
After a night out where Jeanine has her dreams bought into reality she returns to Viktors house. She does not return to the stage again.
It seems odd not to end the show there, as this story is Jeanine’s story. The following scenes feel unnecessary, however the show ends with a shock ballet performance- which is great.
The acting is good. But the story, at points felt disjointed.
Dirty Crusty is on at The Yard Theatre until 30 November https://theyardtheatre.co.uk › theatre › events › dirty-crusty