Timothy

Mon 8th – Sat 27th August 2011

reviews

Ellen Marsh

at 11:42 on 19th Aug 2011

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The setting for this witty production by Blackwatch Road Studios is the cellar of Annette and Timothy’s seemingly happy home. However, we, alongside Yvonne and Susan, soon learn that Timothy is plotting to kill Annette.

Or is he? This play and its characters twist and turn, as Stephen Fry once said, like a twisty-turny thing, and the audience is kept guessing until the end who is plotting against who and why. Yvonne and Susan are the audience’s perspective on events – we know what they know – and can recognise the humour in the assumptions they quickly jump to. These two actresses, Alex Wetherell and Sarah McGuinness respectively, interact well and the piece is clearly well-rehearsed considering the speed at which their exchanges often happen. Many of the funniest lines give away too much plot detail to be repeated here, but it is enough to say that there are no flat moments, and the audience are kept laughing throughout.

Sometimes the actors slip into melodrama, but this is entirely appropriate for the subject matter, and added to my enjoyment of the piece, rather than detracting from it. The set itself is kept simple – a table and three chairs allow us to focus entirely on the actors and the wonderful writing.

The concept itself is excellent, and the script brilliantly written, filled with one-liners and a consistent level of wit. Timothy is only 45 minutes long, and a lot is packed into that time. It is satisfying that no action is over-extended and they have not tried to flesh it out to an hour – it works perfectly within the time it has here.

Timothy gets a good crowd for a play on at 10am – and justly so. If it were on later I imagine it would be even fuller. Timothy is a completely enjoyable experience, and I would recommend any fans of clever comedy to get out of bed a bit early and give it a try.

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Craig Slade

at 12:00 on 19th Aug 2011

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How does one get away with murder? This play has the answer. You convince your friends that you’re in such imminent danger of being murdered that the only viable solution is, in fact, to murder the potential perpetrator, thereby securing your safety on planet Earth in an act of supposed pure self defence.

‘Timothy’ follows power-crazy and apparently terrified Annette, wife of perfect (perhaps too perfect) Timothy, who cooks, cleans, and even notices when the rat poison has been moved. Annette meets with her friends; the strong-willed and rational Yvonne and stupid, stupid Susan in her cellar to discuss what is to be done about her supposed assailant. Twists and turns, suspense, horror and laughter fill this highly enjoyable black comedy at ten in the morning at the Bedlam theatre. I was certainly not ready for something this much fun at this time of the morning.

The best performance came from Sarah McGuinness as the slow-witted but lovable Susan. We were treated to all the incarnations of bemusement I have ever seen manifested in the face of a human being. Alex Wetherell as Yvonne was similarly clever with her headstrong characterisation of the part, and whilst Olivia Holland-Rose and Tom Shah put in solid performances, I would have liked to see slightly more of the characters’ mannerisms and idiosyncrasies come out in their portrayals.

The script was witty and flowed well, and direction was solid throughout, if a little unimaginative. It seems like I’m quibbling, but there was the odd finishing touch that would have made this for me; cups of tea were brought onto the stage that weren’t steaming hot, and the odd joke was delivered in such a way as to fall upon deaf ears, but these occasional setbacks didn’t stop this being an excellent and well executed production, and a highly enjoyable way to start any day out on the Fringe. The plot twists will keep you guessing right to the end.

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