The writers of Darts Wives bring a new concept to the comedy circuit. Their sketch-style comedy centres on four insipid, fame obsessed and greedy wives of darts players: the DWAGS (their coinage). These DWAGS, unlike WAGS, are one big happy family. They look out for each other, they advise each other on sponsorship, they keep each other sane when the pressures of their husbands' profession becomes too much. Or so they claim. As the show progresses, it quickly emerges that they are in fact all attempting to jeopardise one another's chances of winning the ultimate DWAG glory. This, of course, is becoming the DWAG of the world darts champion. The DWAG is certainly a fresh concept. Its execution, however, is disappointing.
The majority of the jokes are completely unfunny. Particularly the sex jokes. There is one notably boring dragged out gag about one of the darts playing husband's hairless testicles, a photo of which, thanks to the machinations of one of the most repulsive of the DWAGS, has been published in the press. For some reason, the hairlessness is meant to be a particular source of hilarity. It all just feels immature - and even had the joke been better constructed, it would still have flopped.
The sketches vary considerably depending on whom they involve, however. Some consist of all four DWAGS, some of only two of them and often of an individual DWAG with her husband. The latter category falls flat every time, largely thanks to the aforementioned lack of success with the sex jokes. While the fact that the husbands are played by the same women as the DWAGS - in deliberately pathetic disguise - has some comedic potential, it is undermined by the weakness of the jokes. At one point, one of the DWAGS does a terrible rap to entice her man. It is meant to be hilariously embarrassing. Instead, it is embarrassing full stop. I wasn't surprised that people left at this point.
This is not to say that I cringed throughout. The friendship portrayed between the two sister DWAGS breeds some nice moments - largely because the actors' own friendship shines through so warmly. There was a delightful moment of corpsing between these two when, in a sketch in which they are both being DWAGS, it became apparent that a moustache one had worn in the previous sketch was still clinging onto her costume. This bred amusement both onstage and off. Their chemistry, however, is not enough to sustain the show.
While the crude jokes so often missed the mark, the most daring joke in the show - about a tumour - turned out to win them, deservedly, the biggest laugh. Although it was delivered with a coy, semi-apologetic acknowledgement that some might find it a bit risque, this was unnecessary. Had the show risked such dark humour more often, a better time would have been had by all.
Furthermore, despite the apparent attack with which the concept of the DWAG is launched, its comedic value isn't really pulled off. Halfhearted jokes about the illness 'Dartisis' singularly fail to amuse, and the satire on WAGS and WAG culture isn't realised sharply enough to justify the ticket price. While not a totally dislikable show, Darts Wives strays far from the bullseye.