Three Tall Women

Edward Albee
Tread the Boards Theatre Company
theSpace @ Venue 45

There was a point during Three Tall Women where one of the titular women, a nurse, was trying to make a bed in the background of the scene. Whilst the dialogue frittered back and forth, the young actress tried in vain to change pillow-cases, duvet covers and tuck sheets into the bed frame.

At this point I lost all interest in the conversations between the three actresses' line-readings and became rapt by the disaster of bed-making that was occurring before my eyes. I wouldn't expect an actress to have the method skills of a care worker, but the simple lack of even basic hospital corners, or know-how was a perfect encapsulation of everything that was wrong with the play, or at least with the first half.

The story of Three Tall Women is the tale of a 90-year-old woman, her nurse and a young legal clerk sent to make sure she signs some documents. For the first painful and dragging half, all three dislikeable characters struggle through the old woman's whining, bad memory and cattiness while they trade off random comments and insults before she finally takes a stroke.

At this point the play actually rises in interest as the three actors, all capable enough, become the same woman at various stages in her life, arguing about how things have turned out. Had the play simply started out in this fashion it would have been a far more enjoyable piece of theatre.

Reviewer: Graeme Strachan