Hysterically funny, slightly weird and yet highly enjoyable,
As a comedy show, Hold For Three Seconds delivers on every level; there’s barely a moment when the audience isn’t laughing out loud.
Each of the three young actors demonstrates perfect comic timing. Reece Connolly is particularly good as the suave yet camp Tom, doing a hilarious impression of sending messages by carrier pigeon. Only once, early on, do the actors overreach, as their characters’ reaction to their newfound situation borders on the hysterical; it feels forced and a little unbelievable, which is a shame when the rest of the piece is generally very well-balanced.
The show’s title comes from the button in the lift that must be pressed for three seconds if the occupants wish to communicate with the outside world. Luckily this show is billed as comedy rather than theatre, for the jokes and humorous set-pieces are where it is strongest. Although a reference to ‘Schroedinger’s Lift’ gets a big laugh, the moments where it tries to get any more philosophical or existential line are a little woolly; ideas are introduced only to be unsatisfactorily explored.
Over the course of the hours they spend in the lift we learn a little about the characters, but it is only that of Tom that is fleshed out to any real degree, with the other two simply bouncing off him. There is an excellent dynamic between the three however: Becky Rourke is good as the woman caught between two rather overwrought men, complete with withering glance and oft-raised eyebrow, while Aidan Peppin is endearing as the bemused and rather put-upon ‘Michael’. The breathing technique that the latter adopts to calm himself down is one of the comic highlights of the evening.
As a comedy show, Hold For Three Seconds delivers on every level; there’s barely a moment when the audience isn’t laughing out loud. Yet in trying to raise some of life’s more important questions only to skate over them so quickly, it often feels more like a strange blend between comedy and theatre, and doesn’t manage to strike quite the right balance between weight and levity.