Review by Flossie Waite
A Small Truth Theatre, Scratchbuilt Productions and Arcola Theatre Production
It’s only been a week since the clocks went back, but it already feels like years. As the days draw dimmer and shorter, how nice to step into a May Day Fair with The Three Sillies. Jingling Morris Dancers welcome the audience to the Sillyton Parish 1914 Village Fete, where bunting abounds and you can have a go at hoopla, splat-a-rat, and an everyone’s-a-winner raffle. The fun of the fair is a brilliant set-up to a play’s worth of absolute silliness (done with absolute skill).
The Three Sillies is the tale of a man who thinks that his fiancée and her parents are the silliest people he has ever met. He decides to go on a journey to find three people sillier than them – unless he succeeds, he refuses to get married. This plot tenuously links three completely ridiculous and unrelated scenarios – from a cow on a roof to women catching the moon in a pond to a man trying to jump into his trousers – but it also means that anything could happen. As the fete stalls change into different pieces of set, the production is constantly unpredictable. Perhaps most unexpected of all are the serious bits, with solemn nods to the silliness of war.
The music, particularly the folk duets of Chris Rusbridge and Arran Glass, is truly lovely and guides the mood from buoyant to contemplative with ease. The production’s greatest success is that it feels like everyone is enjoying themselves – each member of the audience, and all the actors around them.
The Three Sillies isn’t revolutionary but it is great fun, and an excellent contribution from the Arcola to the Family Art Festival. By encouraging families to play together at the beginning, everyone is ready to join in the silliness – including one father who was perfectly willing to sing “I like to wear my pants on my head” to his children’s delight.
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