An extended sketch show in form, Hormonal Housewives calls on the same elements that have made successes of The Vagina Monologues and Hot Flush!. And in Julie Coombe and John MacIsaac’s script, there are the bones of similar successes.
When Shonagh Price steps down from the raised disco floor, sitting centre stage with a gloriously tacky light wall behind, to deliver an increasingly fervent blizzard of men jokes, the comedy level begins to climb as high as the hormone levels. When the light wall starts to depict licks of flame encroaching on the three silhouetted figures in its centre, and Coombe encourages the audience to flap their programmes to cool Price down, the comedy levels takes an equally violent nose dive.
Coombe’s extended courtroom sketch, My Hormones Did It and Ran Away, in which she portrays a woman defending herself against charges of assault, is hilarious. Not particularly sound, but well-delivered, written and structured material that hits all the notes its post-menopausal audience expects.
When Carol Smillie launches into a similar solo spot on divorce, the observational material is still there, but falls flat as she presents - rather than delivers - her lines. Time and again, whether in the set-up scenes with Grant Stott’s voice as a lothario DJ, the sketches, or old-fashioned joke blizzards, Price and Coombe set the laughter rolling, only for it to grind to a halt when Smillie takes over.
The whole overran by 45 minutes on opening night, but should tighten up over the tour. Smillie looks less likely to do the same.