The Threesome

Mon 13th – Sat 18th August 2018

reviews

Marie-Louise Wohrle

at 09:06 on 14th Aug 2018

0agrees

1disagrees

'The Threesome‘, written by Kit Thompson, who also plays the titular role and co-founded the organising theatre company, attempts to be a comedy, but is really just an assemblage of cheap and empty stereotypes. The first half of the show especially, but perhaps all of the show, feels like a ‘stereotypical single straight dude’s fantasy’, or perhaps like one of those self-insert fanfictions you find on fanfiction.net. It is not even so bad it’s funny again, it’s just bad in an incredibly mediocre way.

We open with Cameron, defined by being aggressively awkward, sexually inexperienced, and overall lacking in character, at a singles night. He meets Maddie, who soon turns out to be the epitome of the Crazy Girlfriend/Crazy Ex-Girlfriend cliché. They start their relationship, Maddie defined by being sexually interested in him, until she suggests a threesome. Of course, said threesome is a guy watching two women having sex (“find a bisexual woman”) - nothing else is even considered by the writer. Back at another singles night, he meets Lex, your everyday Manic Pixie Dream Girl, complete with shallow wisdoms and a tragic backstory that is trivialised and not really brought up again. But she lets our protagonist, who somehow stopped being awkward and starts swaggering around as soon as a woman is in a relationship with him, realize the Maddie’s craziness – the closest thing to character development in the entire show.

This “comedy” could have had the potential to make a point or bring us something meaningful, but it at no point even seems to attempt to do so. It feels like the mindless wish-fulfilment of someone who would like to see women fighting over him. Cameron’s life story is paid far more attention to, despite the fact that Lex’s backstory, for instance, could have been poignant and meaningful to the play had it been handled right and had she not been treated as a throwaway plot device.

To Thompson’s credit, there are some funny one-liners and dialogues in the show. The actresses Madi O'Carroll and Aoife O'Sullivan do their best with a script that portrays them as throwaway characters only meant to entertain the main character and help him grow.

All in all, I found this show disappointing. Not only I was made uncomfortable by the dreary plot and stock characters, so was the audience around me. ‘The Threesome’ feels shallow and unfunny, and fails to make any significant point to its audience.

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Andrew Jameson

at 10:03 on 14th Aug 2018

0agrees

0disagrees

'The Threesome' follows the life of the awkward Cameron after he meets Maddie at a singles night. She seems relatively ordinary at first, but as their relationship progresses she quickly transforms into something darker. This escalates when Lex is introduced into the equation.

There a few nice moments of humour in the play. The uncomfortable dialogue between Maddie and Lex when they first meet is quite amusing – if a little unimaginative at times. The contrast between Cameron's 'job' making memes and Maddie's place working in a morgue was also a fun touch. However, generally the humour fails to impress. It relies too heavily on clichés and some of the jokes were a bit predictable. There was also an emphasis on Cameron's 'awkwardness' which is rather overdone to such an extent that it becomes annoying to watch. It feels unnaturally awkward and, while I don't necessarily expect naturalistic characters from a comedy, this exaggeration undermines the humour rather than heightening it.

All three characters are rather poorly drawn with no real substance or development. Maddie undergoes a very sudden transformation from a normal person into a psychopath – there is no particular lead up to this and instead it is just thrust into the narrative. She flips suddenly from a two-dimensional love interest into a two-dimensional crazy person. This is a shame as a slow build-up to this shift could have been quite interesting and fun to watch.

The relationships between the characters also seem extremely shaky. "I don't even know why I bother with you," Maddie says at one point and, to be honest, neither did I. Initially the relationship veers uncomfortably close to resembling some strange kind of fantasy before it then descends into craziness. Cameron's relationship with Lex is similarly left undeveloped with a sudden offstage jump between their first meeting and a later stage of their friendship.

There also seemed to be some tonal problems. Lex's abusive relationship adds a rather dark note which could have been powerful in contrast to the light tone. Instead it just feels awkwardly pushed in, bearing few consequences for the play and the characters. The ending is played dark for a humorous effect, but rather fails on the humour, leaving it empty without any punch.

The actors seem talented but they are let down by some poor writing. Aoife O'Sullivan in particular has great energy and seems to have good fun with the darker eccentricities of her character.

'The Threesome' has a few good moments and some promising performers, but fails to deliver on interesting characters or sharp humour. The play makes for an easy watch but not a particularly memorable one.

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disagree

Comments

J Horner; 16th Aug 2018; 22:19:45

A very stereotypical ‘angry’ feminist review. Not every piece of writing has to have a feminist/gender-neutral /pc agenda and it was a refreshing change to watch a lighthearted romp with no ‘message’ or “point”

Sometimes in life something just is.

I think the reviewer is too focused on some perceived subjugation of the female characters and therefore rather misses the point especially as the character with the most ‘power ‘ is of course Maddie For a reviewer so focused on gender stereotypes it is interesting that they surmised that the writer has a “mindless wish-fulfilment of someone who would like to see women fighting over him” Thus the reviewer has stereotyped the author as a straight male without considering other possibilities. Much of this years fringe’s writing and content focuses on the obsession with the ‘look at me I’m so gender aware’ that this offering was a refreshing change not to be forced to confront the undoubtedly worthy issues of gender equality and just enjoy a well acted and lighthearted piece of new writing .

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