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Threeway

by D.C. Jackson

Edinburgh Festival
31 July 28 August 2013

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Cast List
 
Mark Joe Dixon
Andrew
Brian Ferguson
Julie
Gabriel Quigley
 
Produced by The Invisible Dot
Written by D.C. Jackson
Director –
Phillip Breen
Designer
Rhys Jarman
Lighting Designer
Emma Chapman
Sound Designer
Andrea J Cox
Associate Director
Alexander Lass
 
 


 
Reviews

The Stage
by Nick Awde
 
We’ve all seen the cuddly movies about swapping bodies with kids, hot babes or dogs. Well, DC Jackon’s intelligent fast-paced satire goes one better with a triple transfer after a sex session between (vaguely) consenting adults, and somehow manages to give sexism, racism, porn and relationships a serious look underneath the body-swap farce.
 
Attractive and slick, Mark (Joe Dixon) turns up at the flat of Julie (Gabriel Quigley) and Andrew (Brian Ferguson), booked over the internet to join the nervous but curious couple in their first ever night of “pansexual” experimentation. The morning after, however, the hapless threesome wake up in each other's bodies, and shock soon leads to confusion, recrimination and self-doubt.
 
Once it sinks in that they're not hallucinating, there’s a frantic rush to figure out how to send each other out to the outside world without being rumbled. This impressive cast works generously with each other to create and evolve two characters apiece, while skilfully juggling the interactions sparked by the fact that the Mark, Julie and Andrew have also got mentally naked with each other. Funny, sad, inventive, this comedy will find more-than-consenting partners wherever it goes.
 
 

A Younger Theatre 
by Lauren Mooney

There can’t be many shows at this year’s Fringe with a madder premise than Threeway. What opens as a naturalistic comedy of manners and sexual adventure soon becomes something far stranger – and very much funnier. 
 
Fringe First winner DC Jackson has an ear for realistic dialogue and the couple at the heart of this piece ring true throughout. Julie and Andrew have been together for some time and have a level of comfort and ease in each other’s company that is strangely romantic, even while they are discussing their plan to become “pan-sexual adventurers”. They have decided to branch out, try something new; they’ve found a stranger on the internet and he’s coming over.
When Mark arrives at their house for the pre-arranged threesome they have ordered from the internet like a package from Amazon, everything is awkward in the way you would expect. But when the three of them wake up together the next morning, it soon becomes evident that things have gone very wrong indeed. Andrew is now inside Julie’s body; Julie is in Mark’s; Mark is in Andrew’s. Everybody gives up on whatever they had planned for that morning to spend a little bit of time screaming and swearing.
 
There have been plenty of body-swap films over the years – Freaky Friday was remade only a decade ago – but Threeway is a true modernisation, a revolutionising of the trope, because Jackson has succeeded in finding the one element that could make it even more impossible to explain.
 
If it sounds gimmicky, it somehow isn’t. Having a stranger in their house who can’t really leave adds an extra layer of tension to a relationship that is clearly more complicated than it looks at first glance, not least because the stranger is sitting in Andrew’s body as well as his living room. Jackson actually uses the heightened drama of the situation to conduct a thorough, ice-cold unravelling of a very believable relationship.
 
The things they all inevitably learn about each other’s perspectives are also rather more nuanced than simply that other people have lives as real as you own. Julie, for instance, is horrified to receive a racist slur when standing in the street in Mark’s body, having believed Glasgow to be far more permissive than it apparently is. Similarly, Andrew, who has the horrifying task of going to work as his girlfriend, a nurse, is appalled to realise how much casually inappropriate sexual ‘banter’ is directed at her every day. Of course Julie’s never mentioned it before. Why would she? It isn’t remarkable; unlike Mark, she’s been a woman all her life.
 
All of the characters are wonderfully developed and realistic for something so high-concept, especially Julie, who manages to be a sexually adventurous woman without that defining her entire character. Gabriel Quigley shines as both Julie and her long-term boyfriend; Joe Dixon is excellent as Julie and Mark both; Brian Ferguson brings plenty of humour to Mark and pathos to Andrew: reviewing this show is a logistical and grammatical nightmare.
 
 

ThreeWeeks 
by Imogen Calderwood 
 
Looking for pansexual adventure, Julie and Andrew invite a man they found on the internet into their home. It’s the morning after ‘the event’, however, that the real adventure begins, as the threesome wake to find their bodies are no longer theirs. Playwright DC Jackson uses the body-swap to springboard into racism, sexism, social and sexual politics and relationships. It’s a very refreshing take on both ‘relationship’ plays and the ‘body-swap’ genre, refusing consistently to remain in either category, parodying itself and others of its type. The characters are fantastic, believable and well-developed, and the performances are sensational. Using an absurd situation to cast light on human interaction, Threeway is beautifully original and utterly hilarious.

 
 

Exeunt Magazine
by Colin Bramwell
 
DC Jackson’s latest play is a rom-com with a surreal twist. Julie and Andrew are in a committed monogamous relationship but have recently decided to take their sex life up a notch, and become ‘polyamorous adventurers’. They find Mark, a suave Edinburgh businessman, online, and invite him through to Glasgow for a one-off ménage à trois.
 
The morning after, they wake up to find themselves inhabiting different bodies: Julie becomes Mark, Andrew becomes Julie, Mark becomes Andrew (‘Fear the mindswap’, as We Are Klang might say).
 
While searching for a way to reverse the process, they all have to continue with each other’s daily routines. You’d expect big and bawdy laughs to be constant, given the plot. Threeway does not disappoint in this regard. The play is peppered with enough one-liners and explicit sexual details to maintain a consistent comic tone; moreover, the minimalist staging allowed the play a good amount of breathing space. Jackson derives humour from the real life consequences of this patently absurd situation without allowing his characters to become incredulous and unlikeable.
 
The idea of minds swapping into different bodies could easily have led to clichés about gaining perspective by walking in the shoes of others, and a warm fuzzy denouement. Thankfully the play avoided these altogether by being committed to the idea of humans as inherently farcical in their inability to access self-knowledge. The final twist is an elaborate joke, but one that, on reflection, reveals a certain underlying darkness to the play that is not commonly found in romantic comedies but seems somehow more truthful to the nature of human relationships.
 
The geographical location of the humour in Scottish theatre is more commonly that of the lowlands, so it was a breath of fresh air to see the comic aspects of Highland identity—in this case, the idea of an urban, multicultural society being an alien one—staged. I have to confess to a coincidental vantage point of my own over Julie and Andrew: they’re from the Black Isle, and so am I. Both characters felt recognisably evocative of the place, and reminded me of friends from back home, which is a testament to both Jackson’s writing and the convincing performances of Gabriel Quigley and Brian Ferguson.
 
Threeway presents a pretty major challenge to its cast, and the actors were not wholly convincing in their projections of their colleagues’ initial performances. This is a relatively minor quibble and didn’t substantively hinder my enjoyment of Phillip Breen’s production. Edinburgh is flooded with risqué sex-driven romantic comedies but Threeway sits at the top of this generic heap.
 
 

Spoonfed 
by Crystal Bennes

If you've ever fantasied about having a threesome, there's a very good chance you may rewire that fantasy after seeing Threeway, DC Jackson's latest offering. It's not giving anything away to say that this is a body-swap comedy. A young couple living in Glasgow (from the Highlands, originally: “they drove us out of the Highlands 'cause you're too sexy”), Julie and Andrew are “pan-sexual explorers” looking for a new experience. After a bit of faffing on the internet, Mark turns up, they do the hanky panky, and when they untangle in the morning, things – well, people – aren't exactly as they seem.
 
Threeway is an unexpectedly moralising piece of writing for a play about sexual adventure. On a couple of occasions, the “be careful what you wish for” subtext makes a rather too-obvious appearance, but otherwise the plot unfolds in its own unique fashion, pitched somewhere between Kafka and Freaky Friday. It's seriously funny – the audience are having a ball on the afternoon I see it. The writing is wonderful, with some absolute zingers; when things start to get a bit hairy, Andrew deadpans, “now I know why sex cults end in shoot outs.”
 
The script drags in places (the second scene could have done with another edit), but generally the writing is solid throughout and explores racism, sexuality, self-worth and identity with great deftness, helped considerably by the aforementioned cracking sense of humour. The cast, who are all superb, must be commended – at one point I became aware that I had so completely bought the body swap, that I was following along as if I genuinely believed one person was actually inhabiting a different person's body.
 
Threeway isn't the sort of play that will change your life, but, taken on its own terms, it's an hour or so of great fun at the theatre. And, I won't spoil the ending, but it too is funny and sweet and surprisingly unpredictable.
 
 

One4Review 
 
Threeway is the latest from the up-and-coming Scottish playwright DC Jackson, who had a hit at the Fringe in 2010 with My Romantic History, a wisecracking office anti-romcom. There's another amorously challenged couple at the heart of the new play but this time Jackson throws in a third man, with most unexpected consequences. 
 
DC Jackson’s fast-paced, comedy, indeed farce, has many twists and turns with many hilarious moments as the action unfolds. The play is set in Glasgow in Andrew and Julie’s bedroom. They see themselves as a sexually liberated couple and they are up for a night of sexual experimentation. They have hired Mark, a black male escort, now living in Edinburgh but originally from London. There is something of a culture clash between Mark, the smooth city guy, and Andrew and Julie who aren’t really city types, having moved from Dingwall, a small town in NE Scotland.
 
They prepare for action. Fade out to a night of imagined sexual antics. When they wake up next morning, the three characters have miraculously switched bodies to their utter dismay and panic. Not only minds in different bodies but also gender and skin colour changes. All manner of humorous and dramatic situations develop, both in out of the bedroom.
 
The cast give strong performances for the dual roles they play and in bringing out the humour in the script. Do they discover how to return to their original forms? Does Andrew and Julie’s relationship survive? No answers from me!
 
 

BroadwayWorld.com 
by Amy Hanson
 
DC Jackson's acclaimed play The Wall, along with its sequels, and his 2010 Fringe First winner My Romantic History have garnered him a reputation as a talented young writer to watch in the world of Scottish theatre. His latest offering is Threeway, a clever play where Freaky Friday type bodyswap meets a firmly Scottish sex comedy. In it, a young couple invite a stranger into their home to participate in a threesome, but end up with more than they bargained for when the next morning finds each of the three in the wrong body.
 
Like Jackson's previous works, Threeway features fantastic dialogue, neat observations of contemporary Scottish life and plenty of laughs. It's a very neatly written script, if a little overlong as the pace began to sink in the middle. The script is supported by three competent performances, particularly from Gabriel Quigley who differentiated her two roles exceptionally well. Joe Dixon could perhaps have toned down the shrillness when playing a woman in a man's body, but both he and Brian Ferguson showed a great feel for the rhythms of the piece.
 
With this strong piece of writing, supported by good performances, providing plenty of laughs, Threeway is further demonstration of Jackson's skills and wit.
 
 

Independent 
by Alice Jones 
 
Julie and Andrew are a young Glaswegian couple who decide to spice things up by inviting a stranger, Mark, into their bed. Self-styled "pansexual adventurers", the novices get more than they bargained for when they wake up the next morning not just in a tangle of limbs but also inside one another's skin. It's a threeway body swap whereby Julie is trapped inside Mark's body, Mark is trapped is Andrew's and Andrew is trapped in Julie's.
 
Confusing? Initially, yes, but thanks to some laser-precision directing from Phillip Breen it soon settles down with the relationship between Julie (Gabriel Quigley) and Andrew (Brian Ferguson) particularly convincing as they come to terms with the real truths behind the fantasy.
 
As the old saying goes, you never truly know a man until you've walked a mile in their shoes, or, in this case, spent a fortnight in their underpants. Jackson's script is fiendish and filthy and wrestles with all manner of taboos - sexual, racial, social - as the trio take on one another's appearance, jobs and even conjugal rites. There are a lot of ideas for a rather silly plot to bear and Jackson doesn't quite manage to keep all of his balls in the air. An enjoyable romp, nonetheless.
 
 


 
  

Brian Ferguson. Photo © Mihaela Bodlovic
 

Gabriel Quigley, Brian Ferguson. Photo © Mihaela Bodlovic
 

Gabriel Quigley, Joe Dixon. Photo © Mihaela Bodlovic
 

Joe Dixon, Gabriel Quigley. Photo © Mihaela Bodlovic
 

Joe Dixon, Brian Ferguson. Photo © Mihaela Bodlovic
 

Joe Dixon, Brian Ferguson, Gabriel Quigley. Photo © Mihaela Bodlovic
 

Brian Ferguson. Photo © Mihaela Bodlovic
 
  


 
 

 
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