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Dancin' Thru the Dark Review

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On the eve of the wedding of Linda (Claire Hackett) and Dave (Conrad Nelson), the bride’s hen party and the groom’s stag night celebrate the impending nuptials in time-honoured fashion.

★★★★★

Just what the world needs — another story of ordinary scouse folk out on the tiles. The hens get pissed and dance on the table in the local eaterie and the stags get pissed and look for aggro. Both contingents eventually cross paths down the disco, where the bride’s former flame has returned in triumph as the lead singer of a pop group with a platter at 29 in the charts. Much of the evening is subsequently misspent in the inappropriately named “Gents” and “Ladies” as doubts, fears, envy, resentments, rows and spewing give the lie to a bridesmaid’s intermittent appeal “Aren’t we having a great time, eh?”

Like writer Willy Russell’s previous works Educating Rita and Shirley Valentine, Dancin’ Thru The Dark is about wanting something more out of life, but Russell’s characteristic warmth and wit are not at the fore in this disappointing and not terribly funny outing, co-produced by BBC Films and almost certain to show to better advantage on the small screen. Inevitably, it invites comparisons with at least two recent wacky-Liverpudlians-in-nightclub-upheaval scenarios, Letter To Brezhnev and No Surrender, but it displays neither the verve of the former nor the sharp humour in the latter.

Lacking the wit or insight to convince us that these characters will ever amount to more than a string of hangovers, this film does more stumblin' in the dark than dancin' in it.

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