Dirty Glitter

Dirty Glitter, a cop comedy-thriller, tells the story of a duo of private investigators: the confident and logical Murphy, along with the bumbling and eccentric Valmont. It follows their efforts to find out the truth behind a missing girl, who they think has something to do with a local joint (disco, strip club, or night club – it's not clear) run by one Vince Rubel. Proud of his establishment, profiting from the city’s hedonism, he abuses what few friends he has to hide his secrets. The story dives into the intertwining lives of the police officers in the drug-fueled lifestyle of 1970s discos, aiming to lead to a surprising climax.

The main duo have a really nice dynamic going, but the production does not have the confidence to make this the central running leg of the show

Naughty Corner’s comedy-thriller is sadly anything but the desired outcome. The adjustment to the setting in the 1970s is slow, and whilst the character interplay leads to some good jokes, very few memorable lines are generated. The main duo, Murphy and Valmont, do have a really nice dynamic going, but the production does not have the confidence to make this the central running leg of the show. More time is spent watching Minnie, Vince's lover, or girlfriend, or fiancé (who needs specifics) clash with Vince over the new employee he's busy sexually harassing.

The cast all play their roles well and fit in seamlessly, most of the time. At other times, really hammy performances for the more farcical scenes make the whole piece less engaging. The highlight is always Jose, a Spanish bar-worker and waiter at all of the locations Murphy and Valmont have to visit along the way, whose accent is deliberately and hilariously inconsistent. Sadly, sequences where Valmont undergoes an LSD trip are performed as an over-the-top ensemble piece, to little reaction.

Tonally, Dirty Glitter is all over place. I'm sure this will appeal to some, but to spend the first half of the play trying to play a mostly-straight murder mystery in a dark underworld and then to suddenly break the fourth wall to introduce new characters, prevents any real engagement with them. The disco theme never gets used for anything beyond transitions. The underworld setting triggers the occasional monologue, but with no real engaging statements or purposeful thought. The time spent with a rival, big Dave, goes nowhere.

By the end, any hope of the various elements and characters coming together is in vain. The story has so little substance or development and and is so disappointingly executed that the tonally out-of-place ending did not come as a surprise.

Reviews by Elliott Wengler

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The Blurb

The award-winning Naughty Corner Productions return with Dirty Glitter. A comedy-thriller from the outrageous minds behind The Bastard Queen! and Not the Horse, this neon-noir follows Murphy and Valmont, private investigators hired to find a missing girl during the height of disco, 1979. The investigation leads them to Les Fleurs nightclub in New York, run by resident psychopath Vince Rubel. But to get to him they’ll have to go through his trusted bit-on-the-side, Minnie. Filled with the usual razor sharp wit and unbearable tension, Murphy and Valmont find themselves in a world of blood, betrayal and glitter.