Mr Wonderful

Dorchester Corn Exchange

By Marion Cox

aTHE mating game falls under the spotlight, courtesy of Dorchester Drama, in a bitter-sweet comedy by James Robson where Norma, a 40-something single woman trawls a newspaper dating agency in a bid to discover romance.

Predictably, the men she meets mostly turn out to be either sad perverts or seriously boring nerds - until Geoff comes along who is suave, scholarly and available.

There is only one obstacle to Norma's ambitions for the attainment of true love and that is her upstairs', namely Phoebe, her bedridden and manipulative Mum who doubles as the Queen Mother when the occasion arises and successfully scares off any suitors who come along.

Ann Ottaway and Dee Thorne are in great form as a double act in a love-hate relationship as mother and daughter coping with a script that would have been wonderfully improved if it had been judiciously trimmed.

The richly comic effect as the pair score points off one another is the highlight of this comedy drama with a twist in the tale, directed by Trevor Williams who also stars as Geoff, a man with a few twists of his own.

Also featuring Kevin Morris as a manic cyclist, James Cuthill as a drunk and Shaun Farrell as a waiter, the play is full of wry humour that helps to highlight the emptiness of lives unfulfilled.

But if Norma is the heroine of the story, it is her mum who gets all the best lines and, thanks to Ann Ottaway's peerless performance, proves to be the most likeable character among this motley bunch of losers.

The production continues for the rest of the week.