Fat Git Theatre and Corrine Salisbury
In one of its regular coups, the Finborough has somehow managed to secure the world première of a play written by a playwright from Chicago and set in the Windy City.
The core subject, explored through 1¾ steamy hours, is sex. Playwright Laura Jacqmin probably also intends the piece to act as a metaphor for human interactions, 21st century style.
For those who are not into sexual experimentation, the thirds of the title are human sex toys used by couples to enliven their intimate moments.
Paul and Allison, respectively played by Jeremy Legat and Asha Reid, seem very happy after after six years of married life.
Even so, they start surfing for a man to become the third but abide by their strict rules of engagement (number five—no penetration—being the most significant) and come up with Will Alexander's laid-back, hunky Jay.
The idea behind this kinky game is that he will add spice to the bedroom (sofa/kitchen etc.) without any getting involved with either party on a mental level.
To inject a little variety, having had such a great night with Jay, the couple then decide to do a reverse repeat, picking up Lucy Roslyn as lesbian Mariella in a club.
A Third can then become a little schematic as it attempts to ring every variation possible when four people are physically attracted to each other. In part, the play lacks depth as none of the characters is fully developed.
As the sexual combinations revolve and evolve, the surprisingly conservative, married swingers begin to examine what had previously seemed like the perfect relationship, generating angst that does not affect either of the cool thirds.
The staging by Josh Roche is novel, with the audience placed round the stage area and occasionally becoming closely embroiled in embarrassing conversations and even moments of passion—or being moved to avoid the almost-sex that would otherwise be taking place on their laps.
The actors all make their marks and imbue their characters with appropriately quirky facets to brighten what might otherwise have been an overly-earnest evening.
A Third is good salacious fun but if the idea was to make some deep observations about the human condition and how we behave in these liberated times, they are rather too well hidden.
Reviewer: Philip Fisher