Three Days' Time

Wed 17th – Mon 29th August 2016

reviews

Hannah Sanderson

at 00:58 on 21st Aug 2016

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‘Three Days’ Time’ by Kate Reid is a comic, heartwarming drama which discusses the themes of change and moving-on in a lighthearted tone. Set in a tiny Northern Irish village where everybody appears to be stepping on each other toes, drama strikes when a seemingly law-biding citizen gets arrested and a budgie mysteriously disappears.

The set immediately draws us in. Scattered with used food wrappers and half-finished knitting, it has a definite lived-in feel. The cast use the set well; despite it only being one corner of a smallish room, they employ every inch. This does have its drawbacks however, as it can feel quite cramped when more than three actors are on stage.

The stars of the show are definitely Dee (Rose Reade) and Mary (Connie Dent). The chemistry between them is compelling to watch, and they easily bring out the caustic wit provided by the script. Indeed, Reid’s script continually produces laughs from the audience. Gabriella Bird should also be congratulated on her direction: the characters' delivery, comic pauses and timing are always spot on. The cast are certainly not afraid to leave a line for a moment longer to ensure a bigger laugh.

I was especially impressed by Reade's performance. She carries the character’s anger and exasperation well, whilst allowing the audience to see her softer side. The way she manages to throw her voice, so it seems as if she is talking to someone in another room, is particularly commendable. This makes the general feel of the set more realistic. Dent's Irish accent is truly believable and matched by no-one else in the cast. She plays the perfect sarcastic and nit-picking mother, and her characterisation makes it easy for the other slightly weaker actors to bounce off. Violet (Laura Pujos) would be an example. She is overshadowed by other cast members, her comedy often falling slightly short.

The lighting is simplistic, but this does not detract from the play as it requires nothing complicated. Any deficiencies here are made up by the sound effects, which are always perfectly on cue and often add to the comedy of the whole piece. The costumes as well are wonderfully simple and fit seamlessly into the play.

‘Three Days’ Time’ is a thoroughly enjoyable piece of drama and a good laugh for everyone who sees it. I recommend it to anyone who has a spare hour to make an effort to see this show.

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Ryan Bradley

at 09:13 on 21st Aug 2016

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Juggling drama and comedy with aplomb, ‘Three Days Time’ is dominated by Mary (Connie Dent) and Deidre (Rose Reade), a mother and daughter duo. The latter returns from London to bail her mother from jail, reconnecting with the ageing, lonely parent in a touching, humorous script by Kate Reid.

The play is at its best when focusing on these two individuals. Together, they traverse a wide terrain of emotions, ranging from the absurd to the devastating. Whilst often satirical, the piece is haunted by an untimely loss. The absence of Deidre's father injects poignancy and heart.

As written, Mary’s grief is subtle and convincing. Dent matches this with a sensitive, warm performance. Histrionics are abandoned in favour of a soft, lingering silence. Quiet and mournful, these tender moments intrude on the comic, creating a jarring effect. However, the transitions are rarely ragged. Drifting smoothly between tonal extremes, the play explores loss and love with some maturity. After the entrance of a consoling vicar (Zak Ghazi-Torbati, a competent understudy), these brief ruminations may risk heavy-handedness, but the scenes are still peppered with a light, distracting air. Indeed, when ‘Three Days Time’ threatens to overstay its welcome on a particular scene or topic, the focus shifts appropriately. This is due (in part) to a shorter run time. At an hour and fifteen minutes, it affords space for reflection and levity, seldom allowing either element to become grating.

Despite that, musical montages of drinking and bonding are cutesy shortcuts, perhaps being the only element which approaches inadequacy. With the Northern Irish setting, the jangly music can snake close to cliché too. In truth, there are traces of tweeness to be found throughout, but it does not mar the production as a whole.

Some roles (namely Violet, played by Laura Pujos) do border on caricature, yet the witty, polished script has great fun with these tropes. Mary and Deidre initially start as cosy, clichéd figures too – the bumbling Irish mother and her embarrassed, educated daughter. As the show progresses, this perspective evolves. The two grow into more realistic, weathered creations. However, following such developments, the stereotypes which surround them seem less suitable. In particular, Violet, a familiar, nosey neighbour type, can appear out of place on occasion. An elderly, stuffy busybody, Pujos is perhaps too young for the part, sporting a nose stud which does not blend well with the overall persona.

Minor quibbles aside, ‘Three Days’ Time’ is a largely successful show, moving adeptly from one shade to another. A playful, honest look at familial relationships, the show is profoundly enjoyable, resting firmly on the shoulders of its two leads.

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