Home » Reviews » Off West End » 3some, Etcetera Theatre

3some, Etcetera Theatre

Lisa Gifford

Directed by Paul Linghorn
★★★
Pros: An interesting script with some very funny moments and a top performance from Lisa Gifford.
Cons: Some of the actors appeared to be playing for laughs every now and again, which got irritating.
Our Verdict: This show isn’t ground-breaking but it is lots of fun with enough plot twists to keep you engaged till the end.
Courtesy of Capital City Entertainment
This is not my first time seeing Lisa Gifford’s sassy, modern play about best friends caught in a complicated love tryst. Last August, 3some was performed at the Etcetera as part of the Camden Fringe. However, this time round, whilst Gifford reprises her role as Jen, the two male leads are performed by different actors. Seeing the same show with different performers is an interesting exercise. We’ve all done it countless times with Shakespeare but it was very interesting to see how different this modern show feels in the hands of very different performers. Last time, I remember this play as being a heartfelt drama about the complications of true love hidden under the mask of lust. This time round, the play is divided firmly down the middle – the first half feels like a Two Pints of Lager style comedy while the second half is a raw, edgy drama about love, lies and emotional cruelty.
The play opens on an empty flat. The floor is covered in boxes which are marked bathroom, kitchen, bedroom etc., as if someone is either moving out or moving in. We suddenly hear crashing noises and giggling off stage before couple Paul and Jen come tumbling through the door after a night of heavy drinking. Jen tries to kiss and cuddle Paul who makes excuses and scurries off. Then Rob rolls in. Rob is Paul’s best friend and a self-proclaimed lothario. Slurred banter and further drinking continues long into the night before a game of ‘I never’ ends in revelations about the trios past sex lives. Somewhere down the line, this leads to the three ending up in bed together before epic awkwardness ensues the following morning.
Maybe it’s because I personally find Two Pints of Lager and other such comedies to be the most hollow, pointless shows imaginable that I struggled to enjoy the first half. The characters are falling around drunk, sniggering and, occasionally, it seemed, playing for laughs. However, Lisa Gifford plays Jen with a sassy edge while still remaining an extremely likable, well-rounded character. Even when she is drunk and slurring her words she manages to avoid being over the top or irritating. Gifford’s portrayal is really what grounds the show and keeps it truthful and interesting, particularly in the first half.
Although the first half may appeal to those with a different sense of humour to mine, the second half is where this play really takes hold of the audience. It is only until we get past the actual threesome bit that we find out who these people are and why all is not as it seems. And it was only at this point that I realised the two male leads are capable of truthful and heartfelt performances. The revelations of the second half allow Peter Halpin (Paul) and Euan King (Rob) to unravel their surface personas to reveal deeply complicated individuals, and they do so effectively. Some nice direction from Paul Linghorn ties the performances together nicely and there is wonderful tension in the closing scenes.
There is plenty to like about this production but for me, at least this time round, it is Lisa Gifford’s performance of Jen which really sells the show. And don’t let the name put you off, 3some is not a dull, Sex and the City-type shallow comedy. This is a show about sexuality seen through the veil of human frailty and it is certainly worth a look.
Please feel free to leave your thoughts and opinions in the comments section below!

3some runs at the Etcetera Theatre until 7th April 2013.
Box office: 020 7482 4857 or book online at: http://www.etceteratheatre.com/index.php?id=2

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