Venues and theatres thankfully reopened in Northern Ireland this week and I did rejoice as I love nothing better than getting dressed up (not that you have to), ordering a glass of wine and sinking into the surroundings of a theatre listening to the hubbub of the audience as they take their seats but although venues have been closed for over 500 days the show most certainly did go on. Companies found new spaces both digitally, virtually and site specific, one of the shining lights I discovered during this time was Three’s Theatre Company. I reviewed the company’s audio play in May and loved the journey I undertook all by myself (read it here Audio Play Review- Three’s Theatre Company- I Believe Her) but this time they have returned with a more communal offering; Through the Window.
I met the Three’s Theatre Company outside the MAC Theatre in Belfast on Tuesday night when unfortunately the glorious heatwave we had been enjoying/suffering had decided to give way to Northern Irish summer showers but this didn’t seem to affect the mood of the group gathered in St. Anne’s Square just outside the theatre. I was handed a pair of earphones and was told I was in the green group and my tour guide/stage manager for the night would lead me on my journey. I took my socially distanced corner of the square and put on my earphones, umbrella firmly in hand. It may have been a rainy evening but the sounds which I was first greeted with were upbeat and I could resist a little sway side to side and neither could the audience surrounding me, so I suppose this production began with a small silent disco.
However we weren’t dancing and exchanging sideways glances for long as the piece was introduced and we were off, guided to look up to the large window on the right hand side of the Theatre where the show had begun. Have you ever passed someone’s house and inadvertently glanced in their windows wondering what their life might be like? Well this show takes it just that little step further we not only see their surroundings but we watch the inhabitants and hear their story. Masterfully written and directed by Colm G Doran it has light and shade and is a very enjoyable watch with laugh out loud moments, a sprinkling of unrequited love and a few moments that cut right to the bone of the character. It is very much storytelling with a twist and although the audience are in wide open spaces it feels very intimate and almost illegal!
We move from a recluse who is still trying to deal with a past trauma, to a women yearning for more in a not so fancy hotel room waiting for a knock on the door, to the nostalgic piano teacher who is looking out for the students but still plays to make her father proud, right through to the student who doesn’t understand a brush off! The actors do not get their close up but with their movements and words we are drawn into their worlds. A simple flick of the hand, a wistful look through their window and we become involved in their lives. All beautifully performed and presented by Conor O’Donnell, Mary Lindsay, Evelyn Webber and Catherine Rees.
But the stand out performance in this production for me, was that of Francis Mezza, who played Marty, a single young professional who had been visiting well-to-do friends in their new home and basically has been bored to tears at their dinner party only to find who had got stuck in the en-suite!!! His physicality of being stuck in the bathroom and reappearing with the door handle had our little group in stitches and the laughs continued to cascade like the rain throughout his monologue, with another big chuckle when he discovered the Lidl soap. Maybe we haven’t all got stuck in someone’s bathroom but we have been cornered when someone talks tediously about themselves. Well done to Francis with a window one of the taller galleries of the MAC and with a busy road separate the audience for the performer it was going to be hard to keep our undivided attention but I for one was glued.
The production came to an end with a most beautiful flowing piece of dance (performed by Lizi Watt) which was the perfect way to reconnect all of our groups as a joint honest in awe of the graceful dancer overall a fun night outside a theatre on the night we were eventually allowed back in! If you see this production remounted, book a ticket fast as I didn’t think they will stick around for long and if you are interested in Three’s Theatre Company you can find out more at threestheatrecompany.com. I’ve just read their next production is on a Translink bus- I look forward to buying my return ticket!
Emer D xx