Three Men In A Boat – October 2006

Experience: 6/10

By Clive Francis, adapted from the book by Jerome K Jerome

Venue: Yvonne Arnaud Theatre

Date: Monday 2nd October 2006

This was good fun, but needs some more work to iron out the creaky bits. Clive Francis, Neil Stacy and Simon Ward were fine as the three men going for a constitutionally refreshing trip on the Thames. Although longer in the tooth than the originals, their combined experience helped the piece along. I suspect this performance was early in the run, and there were wrinkles – some hesitancy about the lines, some lines failing to get a laugh, and some clunkiness due to the surprisingly elaborate set, using a boat on a revolve. Mostly, the actors moved fluidly (sorry!) from place to place and character to character, but the boat, graphic though it was, did hamper things a bit. It was nice to see, but perhaps there’s a better way to represent it.

There wouldn’t be a better way to represent Montmerency, though. His invisible presence, indicated only by occasional yapping and his ability to pull various characters all over the stage via his lead, was excellent. The best trained dog in the business. And no little messes to clean up afterwards.

My favourite part was the scene where, in total darkness, all three men attempt to sleep in the same bed, having blown out their candles by mistake. Even though we couldn’t see a thing, the dialogue was so good, it was clear what was happening, although at first I didn’t realise all three had landed on the floor. Very funny.

I wouldn’t mind seeing this one again, once it’s has a chance to bed down.

© 2006 Sheila Evans at ilovetheatre.me

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