Narratively, & structurally, TTT is as everyday as Angela & Tony, a humdrum suburban couple, living in Kookaburra Place, Kellyville. They might have a joint income of $150k, but they're desperately poor. Regrettably (for it plunges her into angst, envy and regret), Angela has stumbled into a bourgeois malady called self-awareness. Trust me, dementia is preferable. To exacerbate Angela's burgeoning woes, Simone, an old schoolfriend who used to be somewhat plainer Suzy, and Joel, an implausibly overachieving athlete, Nobel Laureate, indefatigable lover and more, insinuate themselves into her psyche and, by a sinister process of creeping, cruel contagion, her bloke's.
With that and a series of adventures, their Antipodean apathy is tipped on its head: their equilibrium rocked by a change of polarity. Everything assumed, sure, square and secure is suddenly rendered Dali. Reckless abandon, living dangerously, threatens to seduce them into living, as opposed to merely breathing. Luckily, in the end, they recover their dulled senses, to live unhappily and fearfully ever after. Just like the rest of us. Phew! For a moment there, I thought they were going to realise their dreams and aspirations. But that would be just plain silly; if not downright preposterous.
I can't really bring to mind the last time I laughed as loud and, almost amidst it, felt the agony of intense, searing tragedy. Now I think I get it. True Times Three. This play does multiply the truth and, Lord have mercy, it hurts!
Writer, Paul Gilchrist, deserves the last, eloquent word. He's earned it. “True Times Three is one part philosophy and all parts frivolity. What’s more fun than the sound of smashing mirrors.”
(Singer, musician, dancer, chreographer and, clearly, actor) Kristy Best, Illawarra escapee Daniel Felkai, Penny Hall (you might have caught her at the Sydney Shakespeare festival, making the Elizabethan Seinfeld episode, Much Ado About Nothing) and James Shoobridge (another Shakespearean, as well as good, old New Theatre faithful) all command their characters, the stage and attention.
Felkai, as not-altogether-but-almost-clueless Tony, ekes out a veritable comic masterpiece, while never faltering, in remaining empathic and compassionate with respect to his near-brilliant evocation. Shoobridge pumps up his small frame to be every bit the self-possessed and obsessed Joel and, in so doing, is utterly convincing. Best seems to revel in realising the sensuality of the hedonistic Simone; consequently, so do the rest of us. Hall lives up to the name of brand-spanking-new production company, subtlenuance, in delivering a portrait of a mortgaged soul.
The angelic Heidi Lupprian provided haunting links, in song. Technically, too, all was tight as a drum.
True Times Three
by Paul Gilchrist
Venue: TAP Gallery278 Palmer St, Darlinghurst
Season: July 31 – August 17
Times: Tuesday to Saturday 8pm, Sunday 5pm.
Tickets: $24/$18/cheap Tue $10
Bookings: 0434 924 262 or www.subtlenuance.com