BWW Review: THREESOME, Union Theatre

BWW Review: THREESOME, Union Theatre

BWW Review: THREESOME, Union TheatreBefore the internet made it possible (indeed it sometimes feels obligatory) to discover (and see) every outré sexual practice that might be dreamt in anyone's imagination, a modicum of understanding of the mechanics of female desire, physical and psychological, made a man a kind of exotic creature, somehow not quite of this world. I used to think it was because men didn't know where to look for the knowledge or whom to ask or what to say - later, I would discover that it was more the case that most men didn't listen to what women wanted and didn't care anyway. No wonder we were "from Mars".

Some of those long-forgotten thoughts came back to me, as gauche thirtysomethings, Sam and Kate, coyly ask random, but sexy, Lucy to join them for a threesome - eschewing the rather easier hook-ups online. To Sam's initial delight and overcoming Kate's half-fearful, half-curious reluctance, Michelle turns out to be a practised sexual connoisseur - it's a bit like they got Lewis Hamilton as their Uber driver.

Cue lots of talk of who would like to put what where and how many, an interesting new use for mayonnaise and strategically placed cushions saving the actors' modesty. There's much that sounds like a 15 year-old schoolboy's take on Gynaecology 101, but that's balanced off with some interesting analysis of how language needs to be properly sexualised if sex is to be enjoyed. If it's not quite "The Miller's Son" from A Little Night Music (here's my take on that song), but Jamie Patterson's script isn't quite The Inbetweeners either.

Gemma Rook's Kate gradually loosens up as she relaxes and if her big moment (as it were) has a slightly dubious political dimension, she gets what she wants from the evening and Rook's nicely judged performance never forces that er... issue.

April Pearson vamps up her Lucy in PVC corsetry and potty-mouths her way to the brass tacks of what will and will not be done off-stage in the bedroom. Every now and again, there's a look falls across her face and her hedonistic lifestyle appears to gain a sheen of vacuity - or is that just the projection of someone who knows that what works at 25 seldom does at 35, in the bedroom, the kitchen or the office. It's a subtle moment that opens a door to what the play might become with a re-write or two.

Chris Willoughby garners most of the laughs - certainly from the sizeable number of women in the audience - for his "average" guy, Sam. He looks a bit like Chris Moyles and often reminded me of Ricky Gervais in his passive aggressive moods, but, as I once heard remarked about The Full Monty, naked men are always comic and he is. Job done.

Ultimately, the test of a show like this comes with a hardening of the funny bone - does it make you laugh? It did so for many men and women, young and old, around me, but often at a naughty word, a misplaced digit or an uncharacteristically cruel putdown. Whenever a marginally more sophisticated humour threatened to break through, a mishap with a nose clipping device intervened and we were back where we started.

Like many a one night stand, Threesome is good in parts, but you're left thinking that a bit more thought and ambition might have produced a rather more satisfying experience, that lingers longer in the mind.

Threesome continues at the Union Theatre until 25 March.

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From This Author Gary Naylor

Gary Naylor Gary Naylor is chief reviewer for westend.broadwayworld.com and feels privileged to see so much of London's theatre. He writes about cricket at nestaquin.wordpress.com and also (read more...)

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