3 - 1- 6

Euan Rose
Haymaket Theatre, Basingstoke
(2006)

Poster image

Three people, one crisis, six days – that’s the scenario behind the title of Euan Rose’s new play 3-1-6, which opened at the Basingstoke Haymarket this week.

Not that the title gives much away. In fact, the play itself doesn’t reveal all that much and we have to wait almost until the interval, and an impulsive admission by Michael Lumsden in the role of Toby, to find out where, if anywhere, this strange piece is going.

No refelction on the actors: Natalie Roles, a formidable, convincing mistress Heidi; Sarah Manner, a neat, attractive wife Polly, and Lumsden as the womanising. Spendthrift Toby. Compliments, too, to director John Adams who almost succeeds in fuelling this assembly of monologues with a shot of real theatre.

They are all at full stretch for most of the time and at the final curtain appear to have enjoyed themselves hugely.

I wish I could share their fun – but, to be frank, this is a rerun in new clothes of the tired old theme of businessman throwing money, and a new Merc, at wife and mistress, with a £10,00 bet on a nag for good – or, rather, foolish measure.

There are also many cheap jokes of a sexual nature though very little sign of real action in this respect. No doubt, however, that would simply drag proceedings down altogether.

I suppose I’m trying to say that I couldn’t feel very much sympathy for any of the three characters whose lives seemed generally wasted I’m full of admiration for the performances yet as the clock ticked relentlessly away above the stage, I yearned for a twist that would instil life into a decidedly tedious evening.

The sad thing is that I’m sure the writer is as depressed as the rest of us. The Basingstoke theatre has problems enough on its hands with warnings of grant reduction and a very real threat to the producing company in the town.

We are invited in the programme to think in terms of thrills and thrillers.. Of Bogey and Bacall and even Sherlock Holmes.

If only.

The production runs until 11 March

Reviewer: Kevin Catchpole