Writer: Mark Cantan
Director: Lynne Parker
Reviewer: Paul Ackroyd
Mark Cantan has written a fast paced, very funny, contemporary farce. First performed in Dublin by Rough Magic in December 2012 and now playing at the Soho Theatre it contains deceptions, misunderstandings and social awkwardness worthy of Feydeau or Ayckbourn. We meet Alan and Robin a modern couple in a new relationship. In their search for novelty in their sexual relations leads them to seek out a third partner to join them in a threesome they pick on Jezebel who is the antithesis of her name being socially awkward, frustrated and desperate. The results of their one night stand are what none of them expect or want.
Played with the audience on three sides of the studio area a settee, a table and two stools provide the only furniture for the numerous short scenes and the acting area becomes various flats, a nightclub, library, and various means of transport. No props are used- except for the ubiquitous mobile phones around which so much modern social interaction is focused. The action is fast paced and continuous with the three cast members acting in turn as narrator commenting on the action as it moves forward seamlessly and frantically.
The acting is universally strong and the dialogue fluent. The three cast members work very well as a team, moving rapidly over all corners of the acting area. Valerie O’Connor as the awkward Jezebel wonderfully portrays her various moods and feelings through the use of very expressive facial expressions. Margaret McAuliffe portraysRobin as the strongest of the three characters and Peter Daly plays Alan, the man in the middle, as friendly and affable but his keenness to please leads him into a tangled web of deceit. Alan is a statistician and uses his statistical knowledge to comment on the likelihood or otherwise of the events unfolding; no doubt informed by the playwright’s own mathematical background.
This is a play in which the dialogue is relentless and requires concentration on the part of the audience. The director Lynne Parker never allows the pace to falter, and the choice of a simple setting is absolutely right in focusing attention on the actors and the words. The performance is 90 minutes without an interval and although it never drags you do wonder at the wisdom of dispensing with the interval which is written into the script (kindly provided with my ticket). I think both the audience and the cast might have benefited from a break. Thoroughly recommended.
Runsuntil the 31st August.