Life X 3
By: Robert Windeler
One sure transfer from The West End to Broadway this coming season (as soon as they can find a vacant theatre) is Yasmina Reza's third straight London hit, itself now a transfer from the Royal National Theatre. Having successfully explored the two-hander ("An Unexpected Man") and the three-hander ("Art"), Reza has gone all out this time, with four characters. Still, she remains terse, in one act of 90 minutes in length. The "X 3" of the title refers to the number of scenes and points of view on the same evening. It seems clear that the three scenarios are triangulated takes on what has already happened, rather than projected possibilities. But it is never clear which recollection belongs to which character, nor which of the four characters is left out of the retelling. It hardly matters, since perception and misperception are the point here.
The thrice-told story is of an almost dinner party in a Paris flat. The couple who live there are having a drink having just put their spoiled and whiny six-year-old boy to bed. The couple they have invited for dinner the next night arrives, and there is nothing to eat in the house. The husband of the host couple had planned to impress his older and more influential colleague to save the younger man's flagging career. The edgy farce that ensues in three versions delivers up dialogue that is both amusing and bitingly accurate. (Christopher Hampton translated Reza's French-language play into English.) The four actors, Serena Evans, David Haig, Belinda Lang and David Yellen are uniformly good under Jennie Darnell's restaging for the Savoy. (Matthew Warchus directed the original production at the National.) The "Art" design team is also responsible for this stylish offering.
Savoy Theatre, The Strand (020 7836 8888)