MAUREEN Chadwick made her name with hit TV dramas Bad Girls and Waterloo Road, set in the gritty realms of a women's prison and inner-city comprehensive.
Her return to the stage sees the writer grappling with the more ethereal world of a waiting room for 'dyke heaven', in the form of Chelsea's famous lesbian drinking den the Gateways Club.
Without the friction of real life to rub up against, it is a fight in which she unfortunately comes off second best.
The play opens with confused pensioner Queenie wandering into the club, immortalised on the big screen in The Killing of Sister George, wearing a Miss UK sash.
There she meets first the ageing alcoholic Ollie and then a mysterious young woman in a floral dress and leg brace.
It soon becomes clear this is a battle for the soul of a woman who has lived a lifetime of regret, fighting against her sexuality and even rejecting her lesbian daughter.
There is a compelling story to be told but sadly the telling here is clumsy, spilling out like a boxful of agony aunt columns shorn of emotional power.
Out of the trio, only Amanda Boxer as Ollie, seeking salvation through spirits rather than spiritual salvation, really convinces in what plays like a lesbian's own adventure.
There are some so-so gags, many based on Princess Margaret's rumoured sexual leanings, but not enough to hide the grinding predictability of it all.
Many women have surely lived lives like Queenie, living in such terror of their sexuality they have chosen to hurt those closest to them. They deserve a better play than this.
* The Speed Twins is at Hammersmith's Riverside Studios until September 28.