Writer: Christie Peto
Director: Sophie McMahon
As the audience take their seats, they are provided with a Patient Health Questionnaire to complete. “How often over the last two weeks have you been bothered by feelings of…feeling down, hopeless or depressed?” Your reviewer is not sure anyone is ready for this.
We soon meet Woman (Christie Peto), and her aptly named inner voice Patch (Hannah Harquart), in a therapy session that the audience all appear to be a part of. Woman is here following a recent workplace incident, where it seems she has experienced some kind of mental health crisis.
While Woman doubts her ability to speak in in front of the group, Patch provides a constant stream of chattering reinforcement and reassurance to her, a role she continues throughout the play, carrying around a backpack of Woman’s literal mental baggage; a half-eaten apple, a candle her boss Sue suggested she light to help relax, and a well loved teddy. And so, we begin Woman’s journey of recovery.
Peto’s performance is gritty and raw, one moment and fast witted at others, as she eloquently reflects the ups and downs of the recovery process. Harquart’s performance of Patch brings a contagious positive energy to the piece, as her clowning and physical comedy brings light to Woman’s shade.
The beauty of this piece is in its simplicity. A simple plot-line on a minimalist set with direction that is powerful with its lightness of touch. Despite the ease of this piece, the audience is emotionally with Woman, especially in those moments of quiet, of contemplation, as she tries to work herself out of her situation. The audience feel a deep empathy and are moved way beyond the simplicity of the narrative, a testament to the power of Peto’s writing and her performance.
THREE began as a monologue written and performed by Peto and developed at Dangerosity Workshops. The piece transitioned from a one woman show to a two hander with the introduction of the character Patch played by Harquart. It then went on to show at Dangerosity’s New Writing Festival in 2022, Camden Fringe in 2022 and Brighton Fringe in 2023 before embarking on its current regional tour.
There is a warmth and relatability to this piece. Who hasn’t at some stage been gripped by loneliness, anxiety, self-consciousness, or moments of complete and utter uncertainty? Peto reminds us that mental health challenges are part of the human experience. THREE shows us that even in dark times, connection within ourselves and with others, provides solace and a way forward.
Reviewed 7th September 2023.