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Review: Three Men in a Boat @ Mercury Theatre, Colchester!

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Review: Three Men in a Boat @ Mercury Theatre, Colchester!

Jerome K Jerome’s story of a disastrous boating holiday on the Thames is a timeless comedy classic. And Craig Gilbert’s joyful, riotous stage adaptation does it justice – and then some.

After tours in 2012 and 2014, the Suffolk-based Original Theatre Company is back in the boat for a spring UK tour concluding at the Mercury Theatre in Colchester.

After deciding that they are overworked, J (David Partridge), George (Michael Rouse) and Harris (Tom Hackney) – along with Montmorency the dog – set out on a holiday on the river from Kingston upon Thames to Oxford. What follows is a raucous, playful and very British comedy as the party get into all kinds of scrapes, from making Irish stew out of leftovers (including a pork pie) to battling swans and sleeping under canvas.

It’s high-energy, laugh-out-loud theatre, with a cast of just four; the three men and pianist Nelly (Anna Westlake), who is charmingly funny without ever saying a word.

Jerome K Jerome’s famous wit mixes perfectly with an impressively versatile set, perfectly-timed physical comedy (including some very impressive pratfalls from Tom Hackney), some charmingly choreographed musical interludes and a very memorable magic act.

To say it’s funny is an understatement. The play lurches from misadventure to misadventure, each more hilarious than the last; a comedy fix from 1889 that’s just as brilliant now as it was over a hundred years ago.

Catch it quick – Three Men in a Boat is only at the Mercury Theatre until March 25!


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