Nottingham Theatre Royal
This is a fairly new play, written in 2005 by Morris Panych and is set below stairs in a restaurant that was once frequented by "new boy" dishwasher, Emmett, played by ex Emmerdale actor, Rik Makarem, originally from Chesterfield in Derbyshire.
The story is that Emmett had everything and then lost it all and had to downgrade to being a dishwasher in the realm of King of The Dishwashers, Dressler (David Essex), a man proud of his job and protective of the work seen by Emmett as "the pits". Completing the little trio of washers is aged Moss (Andrew Jarvis), a man that has slightly lost the plot but, as in most cases, provides the bulk of the laughter due to the meandering mental state of his mind. There are times that you almost feel guilty for laughing at the character because of this.
It's a story of class differences, ignorance in Moss and Dressler's image of Emmett's background, wanting to better themselves and workplace etiquette and standards. Sometimes bordering on the dark side but then pulled back to a lighter sense of humour and then steeped in sadness with the passing of Moss and the protectiveness that Dressler shows for Moss.
David Essex absolutely shines as bright as one of the plates that he takes pleasure in polishing, and comes across so natural in this role. I say this as I've seen David in a few roles over the years, all musical, and while music was his field, this non musical role for me has to be his best to date. He just seems to be in his own element playing a character that exudes such life experience as Dressler.
Rik is best known as Nikhil in Emmerdale and for the first five minutes this is who you see on stage, but this image is soon dismissed because, while there is a similarity in the class department between Nikhil and Emmett, Rik plays a blinder as the down on his luck posh lad. It's great to see comedy from Rik but looking at his CV, the theatre and the stage seems to be where he is most at home, but a spell on a prime time soap has done him no harm at all.
Moss is a wonderfully colourful character and Andrew Jarvis, almost unrecognisable under all of that make up and and additional facial hair really ages himself with this role of a man on his last legs. What a class actor!
Jared Garfield makes an appearance at the end as Emmett's replacement and latest knave in King Dressler's Kitchen.
it's a brave move because this is such a new play, by theatre standards, but that's what theatre is all about, getting new work to the stage. The bonus of getting David Essex and a cast of this quality to perform new stuff like this is only going to be a bonus in drawing in the audiences.
The set is functional and pays great attention to details and there's a really interesting way of closing each little section of the play; simple but so effective, and while the play is wordy, and very clever wordy, the only incidental music also does it's job in setting the atmosphere for the play.
Very funny, very entertaining, extremely clever and watchable and don't be afraid of trying something new, because you will not be disappointed.
"The Dishwashers" is on until Saturday 5 March 2014