Placeholder canvas
Tuesday, February 27, 2024

Theatre review: Dirty Old Woman is a laugh-out-loud exploration of sex after fifty

Just to prove that there really is sex/life after fifty (and beyond the Vancouver Fringe), The Cultch and Vancouver Asian Canadian Theatre presents a remount of Loretta Seto’s laugh-out-loud funny Dirty Old Woman.

Last seen on stage at the 2014 Vancouver Fringe Festival, Dirty Old Woman was not only named a Pick of the Fringe that year, but it also won the Cultchivating the Fringe Award, rewarding it with this current run.

It is easy to see why Seto’s quick 45 minute romp took the Fringe by storm two years ago. Not only would it have stood out among the ubiquitous one-person shows that are a staple of the Fringe circuit, but it is also sharply written, and very funny.

Dirty Old Woman tells the the story of 50-something Nina who has recently divorced and finally looking to date again. An encounter with her 30-something hip-hop class dance instructor, Gerry, blossoms into something more.  The two find themselves navigating judgements because of their age difference, both from those around them and from within.

Reprising her role as Nina, it is evident that Susinn McFarlen has much affection for this woman. Her delivery is candid, yet constantly tinged with an underlying vulnerability that makes her ultimately believable among the many laughs. Supported by Emmelia Gordon and Alison Kelly as daughter and best-friend respectively, the trio of women are uniformly terrific.

Joining the women this time is Howie Lai as Gerry, the object of Nina’s affections.  Originally an all-white cast in 2014, the addition of Lai adds an additional layer of realism, especially in a city as diverse our own.  More than simply window dressing though, Lai brings a nice balance to the role, and is a perfect match for McFarlen.

Keeping with the Fringe vibe, one supposes, the uncredited set design is pretty basic. The bed that remains visible throughout is an unfortunate choice though as it points to a seedier side of the relationship, at odds with Seto’s central message.

Productions rarely find a second-life in Vancouver’s theatre scene and even fewer that began life at the local Fringe Festival.  Audiences should be taking advantage of second chances.

Dirty Old Woman by Loretta Seto. Directed by Lynn Goldhar Smith. A Cultch presentation in association with Vancouver Asian Canadian Theatre.  On stage at The Cultch’s Vancity Culture Lab (1895 Venables St, Vancouver) until April 24. Visit for tickets and more information.

Join the Discussion

Follow Us on Social Media


Latest Articles