This taster session of theatre portrays a trio of dark, comic plays presented with malevolent glee by actors Lexy Howe, Ffion Jones and May Phillips. In barely the time it takes to nurse a titular pint, the three take us from 1950s romance to scout expeditions and then on to a rural village with a mysterious local legend. It’s particularly impressive given that Howe also wrote the pieces, which are full of wit and demonstrate her excellent ear for dialogue.
The talents of Jones, Howe and Phillips cannot be underestimated – even if I wish they had more to do, all three are a joy to watch.
Each play runs for a fast-paced fifteen minutes, just enough time to build up to their black twists. All three actors must be commended for each bringing three quite varied characters to life in such a short space of time, let alone creating such complex webs of sympathies as are displayed. Only a few times did the characters veer into stereotypes, disrupting the uncomfortable reality that supports the black humour: a Hampstead-bred girl scout seemed more horses and hockey sticks than London bourgeoisie, a little too cartoonish a lampoon of classism.
I also was mildly disappointed by the supernatural theme of the last of the three plays – after two deliciously possible scenarios, resorting to witchcraft felt out of place, although the horror was appropriately conjured. My favourite remained the first, set in the 50s. Therein Jones, Howe and Phillips managed to present three very different women, all obviously drawn from archetypes of the period, but all given their own humanity. It was a very skilful showing of both writing and performance.
The show is played in the Top Deck venue at the Three Sisters, which is essentially one floor of a bus. The trio by and large make the space work for them, but their blocking is limited and a lot of the time they rely only on their faces to do the acting. Across the three plays Ffion Jones’ performances are particularly high energy, her command of accents and physicalities an important strength given the general lack of movement in the piece.
The production values are surprisingly high – costumes have been well thought out, props kept to an effective minimum. A series of voiceovers sets the tone between the three plays and allows for changes without distractions (the lighting setup cannot stretch to blackouts).
The talents of Jones, Howe and Phillips cannot be underestimated – even if I wish they had more to do, all three are a joy to watch. There’s a lot of excellent material within this short and sweet production which, given room to breathe, could prove an excellent investment.