Some Girl I Used to Know, theatre review: 'Denise Van Outen is not quite good enough'

West Yorkshire Playhouse, Leeds

Lingerie queen Stephanie Canworth is rich, successful and beautiful. But guess what? Having it all is not everything it is cracked up to be. Marooned alone in a luxury hotel room with just her mobile phone, a lap top and the contents of the mini bar for company, she is plunged into a sudden existential crisis prompted by a Facebook message from the Essex Badlands of her past.

Should she twist in the arms of old flame, pill-popping shag merchant Sean, or stick with stay at home, baby-hungry hubbie Paul? This might have made a decent bedroom farce should either of these men had the nous to turn up. It is certainly the stuff of successful chick lit.

Instead Some Girl Like I Used to Know is a stage vehicle for the talents of former Big Breakfast presenter and Strictly runner-up Denise Van Outen. There is a short jukebox of “torch songs” for her polished voice, a gratuitous on-stage costume change to show off her tanned, worked-at body, and there is a generous spicing of earthy humour.

This is a production not without its charms. It is nostalgically watchable and there are some very good fanny gags. Van Outen is both likeable and sexy. The problem is that she is not quite a good enough actor to pull off the one woman show. Not that it will deter her fans who at the predictable conclusion, some actually weeping, leapt to their feet to deliver her a standing ovation.

West Yorkshire Playhouse to 8 February. Touring to 19 March.

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