Three for Two by Phil Booth

We all have our price. Or do we? How far would you go and what would you do for the right money? These questions are at the heart of Three for Two by Phil Booth. They are placed in three intriguing contexts that provide insights into the lives of people in very different situations. Phil Booth explains his style and works: “I’m essentially a writer of comedy who can’t resist tackling dark subjects. My characters - whether gay, straight or open to suggestion - face life-changing dilemmas of sex and exploitation. These are love stories for a corrupt age.”

They are both accomplished storytellers and take on their respective characters with conviction

Winston J Pyke opens the trilogy as the good-looking, self-confident Young Man. He’s a decorator working in a very upmarket warehouse conversion for a city banker whose hobby is photography. Control is about just that. Young Man relates the conversation he has with the man, in which the upper negotiating hand swings from one to the other. Just how much can the man’s money buy? What strength of mind does Young Man have to stick by what he feels comfortable with, when he knows he’s onto a winner? These questions are at the heart of the exchanges.

Anthony (Alan Wales), aged fifty-nine, cuts quite a figure if you are moved by the sight of a somewhat rounded, rosy-faced, balding Englishman in a deckchair wearing a brightly patterned short-sleeved shirt, dark brown shorts with matching socks and sandals. The plot of the trite novel he is reading is about as hopeless as his life. He has found temporary solace in the company of a young man who is beautiful and gifted. As a man with money, he questions the motives of the young man and wonders whether he has espoused the inevitable gold-digger and might be better off in his old world of hopelessness rather than this Nightmare in Paradise. Just how will he resolve the situation?

Both actors make a welcome return in Say Yes. Gabriel (Winston J Pyke) is a young footballer who has made a lot of money in a short time. He has a home in the country and an apartment he uses in town. Barlow (Alan Wade), his manservant, takes care of both premises and travels with him. He also takes care of organising Gabriel’s predilection. Barlow’s crisis of conscience opens up the dark secrets they each have.

This production is perfectly cast. Each actor consummately fulfills the demands of each role comfortably looking and sounding the part at all times. They are both accomplished storytellers and take on their respective characters with conviction and are blessed with a well-crafted script that contains classic dry British wit and humour. Delivery, however, is everything. Both actors have impeccable timing and pace and know how to look at an audience for maximum engagement.

There are neither frills nor gimmicks in Three for Two by Phil Booth. The play is about the dialogue and eloquent, logical argument within the context of delicate situations; it’s a real gem of pure theatre and beautiful acting.

Reviews by Richard Beck

PRINT ROOM at THE CORONET

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★★
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★★★★
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★★★★
The Queen's Theatre

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★★★★
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★★★★

Performances

Location

The Blurb

Three plays, two actors, seventy minutes. Offered hard cash to sit for a wealthy photographer, a young man struggles to keep control. A failed academic finds late love – or has he just found a gold-digger? Sharing the dark secret of a celebrity footballer, his housekeeper is torn between loyalty and conscience. In these sharp, funny dramas, love fights for survival in a world of exploitation. ‘Enticing, uplifting, meticulously observed’ ***** (RemoteGoat.com). www.groundswelltheatre.co.uk