How to Use a Washing Machine

How To Use A Washing Machine is a charming two-hander from emerging company Slam Theatre. This original musical-comedy offers a refreshing take on coming home, moving on and growing up. Clashing siblings Cass (Emelye Moulton) and James (Max Cadman) are called back to their childhood home for one last time, to pack away the final remnants of their youth. Once more under the same roof, they must confront forgotten childhood dreams and come to terms with the inherent sacrifices and difficulties of leaving home and beginning their own lives as adults.

A refreshing take on coming home, moving on and growing up.

Both Moulton and Cadman throw themselves into their performances with energy and commitment. Cadman is particularly funny as a thwarted ballerina turn banker, pirouetting round the stage and lamenting his practical life choices, while Moulton gives a touching performance as a younger sister struggling to prove her maturity and independence. An ambitious and technically exposing score is generally handled with confidence, and any shaky moments in the opening number are more than compensated for by the sense of play between actors, which is hugely enjoyable to watch. The duo make great use of a limited space, and their confident interaction with members of the audience to vent their frustration at delayed trains, for example, adds to the comedy.

The live string quartet is certainly a unique and valuable addition to the production. The title song is amongst the most entertaining, although at points some of the music begins to feel a little repetitive. While the dialogue is sharp and intelligently delivered, some of the major plot points do lack the time and weight they needed to form cornerstones of character development. This said, the relationship between warring siblings is very credible, giving a real sense of history to characters whose lives and choices are inevitably and inseparably intertwined.

A promising production with youthful energy, How To Use A Washing Machine is an enjoyable new musical. There is plenty of potential in the witty songs and dialogue, making for a playful exploration of family, acceptance and growing up.

Reviews by Zoe Callow

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Performances

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The Blurb

Growing up is hard. Learning to use a washing machine is harder. This original musical, featuring a live string quartet, follows Cass and James – siblings called back to their childhood home to pack up for one last time. As they box up their old lives, tensions rise and they must confront themselves and each other about who they've become, the decisions that led them there and what it means to be grown up. It's certain to make you laugh, remember flying the nest and check for cats next time you use the dryer.

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