Chalet Lines

Lee Mattinson

Chalet Lines

Butlins Skegness, Chalet Number 12, where the Walker women have been holidaying since 1961. This year it’s Nana Barbara’s seventieth and everyone’s airing their dirty laundry. Loretta’s had too many camp cocktails, Jolene’s fallen tits over teeth for a Redcoat, Abigail's harbouring more than knickers and hairspray in her suitcase, and Nana Barbara’s waiting for a long overdue party guest. 2.6 out of 5 based on 11 reviews
Chalet Lines

Omniscore:

Location London
Venue Bush Theatre
Director Madani Younis
Cast Monica Dolan, Laura Elphinstone, Gillian Hanna, Robyn Addison Sian Brekin
From April 2012
Until May 2012
Box Office 020 8743 5050
 

Butlins Skegness, Chalet Number 12, where the Walker women have been holidaying since 1961. This year it’s Nana Barbara’s seventieth and everyone’s airing their dirty laundry. Loretta’s had too many camp cocktails, Jolene’s fallen tits over teeth for a Redcoat, Abigail's harbouring more than knickers and hairspray in her suitcase, and Nana Barbara’s waiting for a long overdue party guest.

Reviews

The Evening Standard

The Evening Standard

The gloom is enlivened by some lacerating comedy. In the long first scene Mattinson packs in his best one-liners: jabs at trashy magazines, Slavic customer service and the filth that clogs men’s minds. Yet the relentlessness of the barbs makes the characters hard to care about. Loretta in particular, though vividly portrayed by Dolan, is too unremittingly cruel. More problematically, the play loses its way amid a multitude of period details (not all of which ring true).

13/04/2012

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The Guardian

Michael Billington

I liked the play best when it eased up on the jokes about phallic drinking straws and cock chocs, and explored the tensions that invariably surface during family reunions. But, although Mattinson's piece gets steadily better as it becomes more melancholic, I question the genetic fatalism: the implication that lovelessness is a quality passed on from one generation to the next.

13/04/2012

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The Independent

Paul Taylor

Leslie Travers' set certainly makes a bold statement. The chalet looks as though it has been blown apart by an explosion ... But the design is far too overbearing. It means the five fine actresses in Younis's effortful production have to struggle up steeply inclined floors, which sometimes throws their timing. It occasionally creates misleading stage pictures of the power relations between the characters. And, above all, it arouses false expectations about a play that turns out be much more conventional than its "look".

16/04/2012

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The Stage

Aleks Sierz

An evening of fun and pain, but with an unsatisfying ending.

13/04/2012

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The Times

Libby Purves

Here Lee Mattinson’s preoccupation is with motherhood itself: possessive bitterness, control and denial cascading down the generations, and the grimly-held fallacy that man-trapping is a woman’s sole mission, and that once married you must pretend it is perfect. Sometimes it works, the jokes are good, but there is something centrally unsatisfying: a sense of condescension towards women “held together with hairspray”, a crude harshness which I don’t quite recognise, even in tough women with tough lives.

15/04/2012

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The Daily Mail

Quentin Letts

Mr Mattinson’s point is that family fortunes are made from layers of generations, laid on top of one another like wallpaper in a holiday chalet. In arguing this, he has to resort to some fruity language and props. As for Mr Younis, good luck to him. It is refreshing to see a play that effectively tells the underclass to pull itself together.

20/04/2012

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The Observer

Susannah Clapp

The ferocity is extreme, pungently expressed and repeated: women's dependence on men's approval seems to be being blamed for their feral state, but the play doesn't so much develop as point to a pattern doomed, it seems (few escape), to be endlessly repeated.

15/04/2012

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The Sunday Times

Maxie Szakwinska

Mattinson is better at writing one-liners than characters. The evening makes perfunctory points about matriarchal tyranny, and you wish the cast in Madani Younis’s ponderous staging were given more to act. It is a poor-to-questionable start to Younis’s artistic directorship of the Bush.

22/04/2012

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The Daily Telegraph

Charles Spencer

Unfortunately, while awaking memories of former Bush glories, Chalet Lines proves a damp squib. Rather surprisingly, Lee Mattinson, the author of this play about women, is a bloke and he seems to have few searching insights into his female characters, preferring cheap jokes about sex and other bodily functions, and drinking straws fashioned to resemble the male sex organ. The characters all feel less than fully explored and though the dialogue is undoubtedly lively and sometimes crudely funny, there is precious little psychological depth.

16/04/2012

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Time Out

Sam Marlowe

Lacks tenderness and complexity; Mattinson's dialogue crams a string of coarse one-liners into the mouths of characters to whom his attitude is more sneering than sympathetic.

16/04/2012

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The Independent on Sunday

Kate Bassett

Alas, this is not an auspicious start for Younis. Let's hope he finds his feet soon, and doesn't oblige any more poor actresses to negotiate a steep-raked stage in four-inch stilettos. Best keep "break a leg" as a luvvie's metaphor.

15/04/2012

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