photo: Richard Termine
Seeing any one of the standalone plays in Alyn Ayckbourn's trilogy makes for a tasty snack; it takes seeing two to make a meal and all three a full feast. Each of the three plays depicts the same six characters during the same weekend in a different part of an English country house yet there's hardly any feeling of repetition, maybe because the comedy comes much less from situations than from observation of character. The plays' events are simple - an aborted weekend tryst between Norman (Stephen Mangan) and Annie (Jessica Hynes) becomes everybody's business - but the humor is sophisticated and, despite plenty of farcical hilarity, it's anything but trivial. The six performers in the cast, under Matthew Warchus' pitch-perfect direction, are each in touch with the vulnerability of Aykborn's comic characters. I suppose that anything is possible, but I really don't see how a production of these plays could be any better.