Thirty Three review at Leicester Square Theatre, London – ‘slick and entertaining’

Scene from Thirty Three at Leicester Square Theatre, London. Photo: Hilary Knox Scene from Thirty Three at Leicester Square Theatre, London. Photo: Hilary Knox
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It makes perfect sense that Michael Booth and Alistair Powning’s Thirty Three is due to be turned into a movie later this year. Its Australian authors are adept at writing slick, naturalistic dialogue that’s highly amusing in its inanity. More importantly they are economic writers, delivering chunky swathes of back-story with barely a hint of exposition.

It’s not a style that lends itself to a big stage but the intimacy of the Leicester Square Studio suits it and means that nothing is lost amid the cross-talk.

Booth and Powning go to great lengths to create engaging, infuriating yet distinctly likeable characters but the actual story plays more like an episode of something larger than a stand-alone piece.

Saskia is planning to spend her 33rd birthday celebrating with her urban family. She isn’t expecting her estranged brother Joshua to show up and while she’s pleased to see him, his presence opens up many unanswered questions. As the other guests arrive, fuelled by booze and recreational drugs, the party soon dissolves into a slanging match where relationships are exposed and examined in detail.

It’s a joy to watch this company at work and Kai Raisbeck’s fluid direction ensures the tone remains light and the pace crisp.

Ben Dalton lends a hint of menace to the charismatic Lachlan but rightly, the heart of the plays lies in resolution between Corinne Furlong’s emotionally articulate Saskia and Doug Hansell’s feckless Joshua.  Booth and Powning may not be breaking new ground here as playwrights, but the ensemble of actors here couldn’t be tighter.

Entertaining if slightly aimless play bolstered by a tight ensemble